The relationship between usage and citations in an open access mega journal

Authors : Barbara McGillivray, Mathias Astell

How does usage of an article relate to the number of citations it accrues? Does the timeframe in which an article is used (and how much that article is used) have an effect on when and how much that article is cited?

What role does an article’s subject area play in the relationship between usage and citations? This paper aims to answer these questions through an observational study of usage and citation data collected about a multidisciplinary, open access mega journal, Scientific Reports.

We find that while the direct correlation between usage and citations is only moderate at best, the relationship between how early and how much an article is used and how early it is cited is much clearer. What is more, we find that when an article is cited earlier it is also cited more often, leading to the assertion that if an article is more highly accessed early on, it is more likely to be cited earlier and more often.

As Scientific Reports is a multidisciplinary journal covering all natural and clinical sciences, this study was also able to look at the differences across subject areas and found some interesting variations when comparing the major subject areas covered by the journal (i.e. biological, Earth, physical and health sciences).


Standardising and harmonising research data policy in scholarly publishing

Authors : Iain Hrynaszkiewicz, Aliaksandr Birukou, Mathias Astell, Sowmya Swaminathan, Amye Kenall, Varsha Khodiyar

To address the complexities researchers face during publication, and the potential community-wide benefits of wider adoption of clear data policies, the publisher Springer Nature has developed a standardised, common framework for the research data policies of all its journals. An expert working group was convened to audit and identify common features of research data policies of the journals published by Springer Nature, where policies were present.

The group then consulted with approximately 30 editors, covering all research disciplines, within the organisation. The group also consulted with academic editors and librarians and funders, which informed development of the framework and the creation of supporting resources.

Four types of data policy were defined in recognition that some journals and research communities are more ready than others to adopt strong data policies. As of January 2017 more than 700 journals have adopted a standard policy and this number is growing weekly. To potentially enable standardisation and harmonisation of data policy across funders, institutions, repositories, societies and other publishers the policy framework was made available under a Creative Commons license.

However, the framework requires wider debate with these stakeholders and an Interest Group within the Research Data Alliance (RDA) has been formed to initiate this process.

This paper was presented at the 12th International Digital Curation Conference, Edinburgh, UK on 22 February 2017 and will be submitted to International Journal of Digital Curation.

URL : Standardising and harmonising research data policy in scholarly publishing