PLoS, ORCiD and Article Level Metrics

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PLoS, ORCiD and Article Level Metrics
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Dr Virginia Barbour discusses the new PLOS data policy, the introduction of ORCID Identifiers to the people records in the PLOS manuscript submission system, and the development of PLOS article level metrics to measure the impact of research. 3rd July 2014.
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thank you very much for the opportunity to talk to everyone today I'm really really pleased to be here I'm talking to you from a beautiful day in Brisbane which is fantastic I've new I live out here now having move from the UK at the end of last year so I'm going to talk to you for about 40 minutes on some initiatives that we are doing around i would say around technology and publishing but particularly they relate to the thing sort of things that adds is interested in and obviously i'm talking from the point of view of one publisher which is plus some of what i will say will refer to other ones but i'm also going to but you know please bear in mind that that's that's primarily my perspective and at the end will we should have plenty of time for questions
please do feel free to think of your questions and have them at the end ok so Oh what is it what is it all about ok so
these are the three things I'm going to
talk to you about first is around data and new authorship ideas and metrics and what all of these things are related to really the key on the pinning of them I would say is to do with the fact they were getting much better with technology and publishing now and that has changed many of the summit weren't many of the kind of quite intractable issues that there were around publishing in the past and as i said i'm talking at this from the point of view of one open access publisher which is plus the public library science which is the organization that I work for and i'll give you a little bit of history of cloth just so that everybody is kind of on the same page as it were so what I'm
talking about the the future of publishing I feel like we need to go back to 20 2005 and i think the James Boyle who has written a great deal on the future of the internet wrote very eloquently back there about the fact that the Internet is something that if we tried to invent it today we probably wouldn't do anywhere near as well as it is right now we'd almost certainly impose restrictions on it in fact as he noted we might even declare it illegal and I think the challenge for publishing right now and for everybody who's associated with it and that includes organizations like ants and many other different organizations who have a vested interest in scientific dissemination is that we're not really as yet exploit exploiting the full power of the Internet where are the things
where technology is making a particular difference so the first ones I would say is in open access to publications and I'll talk briefly about that but that's not the primary focus of this talk open access today to us the next one of the next frontiers and of course that's something where that answers at the absolutely Oh cornerstone of and interestingly enough for those of you who may not know a huge amount about publishing and certainly data in other countries and is actually quite far ahead of any other country
second one is about new ideas on authorship which I think are really fascinating and I'll talk about a couple of things there I'm not going to talk about correction of the literature post-publication peer review although there are fascinating topics for another time but also but I am going to finish with talking about new ways of measuring impact so open access is the
revolutionary idea that the web really enabled and allowed everything all of this to happen however it is just one enabler of change but it is an absolutely crucial one so i think it's
just worth spending a couple of minutes about understanding what that means so the first thing is that open is greater than in free so what is open what does
that really miss open access which I've defined here is well actually I hadn't defined it this was defined back in 2003 is the free immediate access online of course but it is also unrestricted distribution of reuse and that is associated with a license that makes that very explicit both in human readable form and machine readable form the author retain retains the right to attribution and papers are deposited in a public on like archive and you can imagine that if this is the case for the case for papers themselves then it is
obviously also the case for data so where does where does + fit into this so plus is a not-for-profit organization we were launched back in two thousand actually is an advocacy organization since then we've put we now have seven journals which range from ones that have a very specific focus through to one set and publish across the entire spectrum of medicine and biology we also have and our model is that we are funded with publication charges which vary according to the journals we have a publication for your systems program for people that can't afford those fees and we also have some other sources of revenue and we are now in surplus we're one of many open access publishers we weren't even the first open access publisher however we
are one that has allowed us really to build on the momentum of starting with
selected journals through two journals as much less hectic here we are about the that we have the first one was applause
pile of virtually back in two thousand three plus medicine the journal that I I
started along with two other editors and
then we have for what we call community
journals which are all aimed at specific commute areas and then we have lost one
which is the journal that covers competitors automated in science and all
these plus articles are gold open access and what does that mean well it means that we can essentially allow them to we allow it means that all the articles are able to be can essentially be used in
any way provided that the author is originally is properly cited so just to
hold on this slide for a moment what does that mean well it means that if you want to pass it on to your students you can do that if you want to put it in course max you can do that if you want to reproduce the figures you can do that and of course critically it's you can use the data from the papers in text mining or in other ways and so that's why open access is is really the cornerstone of where we're getting onto which is the next stage is how we move on and discuss a date if you look at
that in the context of open access there is a continuum of open access and one of the things that plus is done we collaborated with another number of organizations so we have a an online it's an online but also a paper tool and you can use this to look at how open
journals and articles are according to a number of different things so so for example which start from reader writes on the left hand side through to machine readability of the both of the article and the data itself and what you can see here is what the plus journals come out with if you look at them in this way and what you find is that actually we don't fully we're not fully there with the machine readability on the right hand side and this is around article being fully available by text mining but also the data that's associated with it and why is that why is that such an issue
it's this fact is that much of the technology is not quite there yet to have the data available in a form that is really usable in a transparent and seamless way and that's why the types of thing again that lands is doing by providing ways that data can be stored and passed on and shared is absolutely critical because this is the type of issue that not one publisher can solve on their own but even if they have a commitment to it as as we very much do okay so let's move on
to to data which is the first of the topics I'd like to cover we all have
this ideal of what a data site or a wonderful research cycles should look
like which where we have complete integration of all our data from one
starting with the collect the very early collection through to the analysis through to the narrative description and that it's all stored in an accessible format that is linked to the publication and that it's made available post-publication this is an ideal that we would like the truth we know is
something rather different there are some very specific things that actually caused this to be problematic first of all we are as a as a scientific publishing industry still rather fond of the PDF as the primary method of dissemination and as we know PDFs are a pretty terrible way of sharing information it's almost it can be very hard to share the data even if you want to because it's in uniform that's not extractable it may not be shared possible to share because of patient privacy concerns or because the data is just so huge or because perhaps you you've got data from somewhere else and another very key issue is there is no good metadata associated with the data so there is a large body of work that needs to be done before we can be really get to a position where we can share
data properly and the reason of course that we want to do this is because data availability allows all of these things to happen from yo the early replication the validation of the studies through to very serious questions that we're all addressing as a scientific community now which are around the group reducibility of research and that comes down to the really fundamental public trust that everybody needs to have within science publishing and arguably one of the problems that we have now is that we don't have that trust because it's simply not possible quite often to assess the data associated with papers and then assess how reproducible they are so this is why everybody cares but about this or rather passionately because it is really fundamental to the
research process and this was shown really very eloquent and rather unfortunately back in peer review Congress in 2013 vines and colleagues looked at the availability of data after publication and they found that once you get out to you know tenure even ten years at publication certainly once you're out at 20 years post-publication the availability of data is vanishingly small this is a real I think shame and is something that as a community needs to be addressed what do we do it plus with this so again I would
just I'd like to just really highlight
that when absolutely not the first publisher just did it to do this and the British Medical Journal for example has led the way in this and other publishers such that some of the medical journals have also had a date availability statements available for what but we wanted to take an approach that essentially crossed all of disciplines as far as possible and that made it very explicit what we were trying to address so we've always had applause a data a fairly strong data access policy and we have in the past declined to publish papers where there was proprietary information which based on proprietary data which the waters are not willing to make available and we felt that the paper we couldn't publish those papers because you know essentially it's not possible for us to verify whether or not the paper themselves are sound this service is our starting point this was a project that began more than a year ago now it was led by Theo bloom who was our biology director of publishing who now works at the bmj and very dedicated group of T staff within plus who spent a long time not only thinking about individual policies but also consulting about this and we prior to launching the policy on the first of March we had a couple of public consultations about this we came from a starting point of where we've been quite strong in the past that was our previous policy what
was our aims of the new policy well it's basically this we wanted to turn the idea that data was somehow peripheral to publishing to actually be intrinsically
part of the publishing process and this
requires us to essentially look at all steps starting with authoring right through to publication and post publication of course and capturing data and metadata and making it clear that they are presented in the optimal human and machine readable formats most of all we wanted to provide clarity to the authors about what we were looking for make it clear this as part of their responsibility when they published this is a long-term plan that we are moving towards and the first step was really around the trying to change the mindset of how people think about data and also to make it clear what the authors obligations were
here and so to make it really clear about what we are trying to do plus data
policy does not aim to say anything new about what data types forms an amount should be shared and I'm using these words very carefully these are the exact words that are on our website and you're very welcome to go and look at them and and come back and check with us but what it does aim to do is to make it very apparent transparent where the data can be found and make it clear that it's not acceptable for it just to be in some place that only the author has available to them for example the author's hard drive or a USB stick is much more about clarification at the very beginning Dean abling authors to work with third parties to make their data available if that's what it takes now I'm not going
to go through this in huge detail I am more than happy to discuss this offline the row so just bring up to specific issues the first is issues to do with privacy concerns and this is a very big concern for many of our authors particularly those who work on clinical data it also can be an issue around handling of sensitive ecological data for example and what we have absolutely asked in authors to do is to work with their applicable local and national laws to take advice from anyone who in their area who or use accepted norms in their area and to make it clear when they are submitting these types of data how they worked with their whether it was their thunder or whether it was any other bunny one else involved in the study to make sure that if data could be considered sensitive how the participants Percy was preserved or how the data was de-identified in some sort of way and so again we're getting a lot of questions about the short answer there is a way to handle this but we absolutely understand this is a very difficult area for for many authors a
second very specific issue is what you do if the data is just too huge and there are specific communities where this is a very big issue for example around brain mapping errors around geospatial data data collected from real experiments would also fall into this we have again we committed to working with institutions as far as this as possible we're committed to working with organizations such as ands increasing that we are finding that there are places where these data can be stored just to again take a slight step back this is not about plus or any other publishers saying you know we want your data we're going to hold it what we're saying is that we want to enable you to share your data and we'll do that in any way that is possible but most of all you have to be clear to us about what your where the data are and what and how you propose to share it to be really clear these are
restrictions that we don't feel that are acceptable we don't feel it's appropriate for individuals the same we're not going to share this because of some theoretical future publication of course we understand that there are sensitives is around getting credit for data and I'll talk about that in a moment that on its own is not a good enough reason to not share the data for a specific paper if your analysis is only on spry ettore data then it's very important that those are not the only data that are used to substantiate the conclusions and again this is not a new requirement this has been part of plusses requirements for many years now give you an idea of what a data
availability statement looks like this was a paper that was actually published at this sorry submitted at the end of December published in may as you can see I think this gives what in a snapshot really that this is how potentially useful the data are these statements are in that you can actually hyper linked back to the original data and since we implemented this policy back in the beginning of March we've had more than 16,000 papers submitted with data availability statements we haven't published 16,000 we have those ones going through the process we have a very active group at plus which is helping authors trip to figure out how to handle these issues at the moment we're getting around 10 queries a week so it's not overwhelming but we're certainly not getting thousands of crews a week and you know we feel confident that the data this is something that authors are beginning to understand this requirement and beginning to respond to but we're absolutely committed to working with anyone who has specific questions so please I would say if this is message another message to take away from this is webinar is if you have questions but these asker's please don't just assume that it's going to be problematic for you if you don't have a place
you can store your data that's available with your institution or national there are organizations such as dried which are working to provide places for data to be stored and these are the big
questions I think that we all need to address as a scientific community many of them can't actually be just addressed by publishers I think the third number third one I would just highlight particularly is giving epidemic credit for data we use and data sharing is really important and is something that absolutely has not yet been worked out by either institutions or by funders and I think will go a long way to helping authors feel much more comfortable about sharing their data I'm sure anyone here could come up with many more questions I'll just leave those there is something for for you to think about and we can perhaps come back to them at the end of the webinar okay so I'm now going to
turn to author identity I'm sure like
everybody on this call or more many of you on this call you might hurt you'll have nicknames associated with your names if you're lucky you'll get your names right most of the time that just doesn't always happen happy to me if I'm thinking about my identity as an author these are just three identities that I've been listed on as far as in various places in various publications and that's before I even even contemplate using my married name which actually I don't use for one of these reasons which is that a long time ago I decided that it was important in some continuity that I didn't change my name so I have a you know name that's not hugely uncommon but it's not it's certainly not as common as many individuals if for example you do a
quick search on PubMed of a name that is relatively common so some people surnamed Wang what to find then you find that the first four papers come up with four completely different author IDs it's clear that it's not the same author because person is work going from cell biology and mitochondria through to urology these are not clearly not the same individuals it gets even worse when you start to look in the pile energy
physics so this is another paper which also which includes Norfolk with the same name and this is a as often happens with physics papers has hundreds of authors I didn't actually count them all
and in somewhere buried right down in the middle are two authors with the same name and they're just one of many it's an extreme example but a not uncommon example of why authorship is so problematic nowadays what can we do
about this so this is really a plea to for everyone to think about the need to identify by themselves uniquely I like the work to think about organizers as a DOI for four people orchid has a great tag line and I think it goes to the heart of what they're trying to do here which is connecting researchers to their research in a way that is completely identifiable just completely trackable and that is permanent as the scientific literature expands this is becoming a critical problem it's not just a problem for authors it's a problem for institutions who want to be able to identify their researchers it's certainly a problem for publishers it's a problem for funders because they want to know what their academics are doing and in the end one can imagine that it might turn out to be in the future where we are looking at how we all have our identity online with multiple sources of information including blogs for example it may even become important there so this is the orchid site it has it's very easy to use I just took a snapshot from it recently our registration is very quick it is very easy to add your papers to it and to something that is increasingly now being used and so you'll have seen at the beginning of my presentation that i had my orchid ID there i'm beginning to see them increasingly on store email signatures that are going out we are now encouraging individuals at plus to submit them as part of their publication when they submit their publications and it may well be in the not-too-distant future that we start to require these but at the point at this point the point of encouraging them so what are the core
functions i would say that orchid does well these are these the ones these are the what they described as being their core functions and the first is this registry and the second but the second which is even more important is having api's that support system to system communication and so this is where the power of having a unique identifier lies and this is where it will I think potentially provide most value so this
is what my orchid ID looks like it goes right back to papers that i published 10 or 15 years ago through two more up-to-date ones there's a bility to keywords in for example you can import from multiple data sources and I think if if you're thinking about what the advantages of this are I think they're very clear orchid is a not-for-profit organization it is funded by a coalition of publishers and other organizations and it may well be in the future that it it gets funding from for example for institutions and the importance really I think of this can't be underestimated at this point particularly as the literature begins to expand so so if you feel after this propagator this talk is worth going and having a little look at orchid I would really encourage that the next part of what authorship is about is
about really understanding who did what and this again is where orchid is a building block through to larger and larger issue and I think it's perhaps there's one theme that I like to develop is that right at the beginning I said that technology is something that allows us to do different things publishing in a very innovative way and to have to do that you have to have building blocks that underlie that so one of those is around is around unique IDs so I just again just to illustrate the the complexities of who does what on papers this is a paper that I just picked very randomly from from plos genetics it's published a couple of weeks ago it's got 33 authors it's a fairly complex paper you know who did what on it this is what
the you're the contributions looked like when you when you look at it and although obviously this is completely accurate with regard to what they did it doesn't give me as a reader a very clear idea of what each of these individuals did and so number of groups are thinking about different ways of working with authorship and moving towards something that is is closer to a proper contributor ship now contributor ship is something that has been thought about and discussed for quite some time it originally started more than 20 years ago with Drummond Rennie who is lead one of the deputy editors at the Journal of the American Medical Association suggesting that this is what instead of just having an authorship according to for three or four specific criteria that you actually asked authors to describe what they did the difficulty is as you see is in complex papers like this this is what you end up with and it's really hard to actually know what people did and of course this is not a let alone have it or attached to anything very
electronically so there is now a movement to try and improve on contributor ship this has been led by a group out of the Wellcome Trust in the UK also academics from Harvard University and plus has also been involved into various stages and the idea is that they is that we should really as inaugural as a as a publishing industry and our authors think really what we're trying to achieve when we when we do when think about authorship because of course a name on a paper is is the credit is the it's the currency of academia nowadays and you know messing with it i think is highly is something that has to be done or changing has to be done very carefully and so this group has got together to come up with a tool that essentially will allow easy entry of contributions most important it provides a consistent language to describe contributions across a number of different specialties and then it automatically generates a contribution statement and because that's electronic and because you know as one goes forward one can imagine it it's linked to orchid ideas etc all of a sudden you're in a position to really be able to understand what individuals did on individual papers and so expect to see more in the in this area in the future i'm going to now move on to the
last part i'm going to talk about article level metrics and then as i say well i'll leave some time for for
questions at the yeah i don't think many people would would would agree that having journal metrics in this day and age is a it's a very good way of assessing what an article how are open article is how good an article is whether it's relevant to your field etc we when i talk two authors about how they search for all papers that they want to read nowadays the number of people who go a staff journal type of contents and religiously read through at all is vanishingly small a large number of people start really with even not only don't even start with specialist search engines but start with for example Google and so we clearly have to do a much better job of allowing the articles to speak for themselves and the idea behind this was was really what generated the plus article level metrics program which has been now going for for about five six years and was one of the first programs to systematically generator article level metrics what are we particularly trying
to do here well this is a cystic or a set of stances that always was may gives me pause when I look at it it so this is the slightly old slide now it's back from 2012 but it then will essentially was the entire corpus of PLAs payments that we publish up to that point sixty three thousand papers and if you want to look at the activity around the paper and you're only looking at citations you're only looking at about point three percent of the activity so 300,000 citations and that's on crossref the same would be true for scopus for web of science etc versus 124 million pageviews so you can see there is large possibility there for actually looking at what the individual activity around papers is outside your citations and so
if you if you look at this a little bit more granular data this is this is data that is more recent this is up to january 2014 if you look at the activity that happens in papers what's quite interesting is that for example so this is this is the entire corpus of papers this is one hundred thousand papers now as you'd expect you know one hundred percent of them have had views at plus as kind of a relief ninety-eight percent of them have been viewed at pubmed central you remember the pubmed central is the place where the papers are archived high proportion of papers ninety percent of them have been shared on sites such as Mendel a quarter of them have been have been shared on Twitter twenty-nine percent on Facebook a lot of activity some of them some more relevant to some community than others and some you know somewhere really there's only very specialist interest and so for example the the the reddit number at the top is quite interesting in fact probably would not be the case note is not percent but it to its that's only because it's rounded down as it were and so what we're seeing is you know if you want to pick a range of ways that papers are used and access to etc focusing simple and citations is is kind of a rather small thing to do this is
what we've done at plus we have a tool called LM reports which is a anyone is
able to use just to give you a highlight of what these look like kind this is this was a screenshot i did recently taken from papers a selection of papers from one Australian University I just walk you through what this means colors relate to which journal they're published in the size of the citation so in size the bubble is the number of citations along the bottom we have the age of the paper in months up the side we have tech number of total views so what you start to see is very interesting patterns emerge when you look at papers like this and so for
example the one at the top which has had the most number of views was published in plos one which is orange color it's had a relatively few number of citations it's only had through three on scopus that we don't in this little box share the full range of all the citations we have just give a snapshot of it but as you can see it actually is a paper where this is likely to get high leadership not just from the scientific community but also from people who are involved in perhaps conservation but are not academics and also from the general public it's looking at issues around conservation the red list of endangered species and ecosystems so very interesting and likely to be of high public interest well as for example if
you look at the this actually points to the green bubble which is the the bubble which has the biggest number of citations this is a paper published in plos genetics and it's genome-wide Association study of a fairly specific area one where you might imagine that it's going to be read by individuals within that area the citation will reflect how much it gets incorporated into future use but probably not too much public interests so what does this
actually look like if you if you look at the papers themselves so I use here one of my favorite examples which is a paper that we published back in 2005 and with as we're quite aware of rather catchy title which the author came up with but which has generated a huge amount of debate which is relevant I think too many of the things I'm talking about in this this webinar which is around how much can we rely on the scientific literature and it's the first of our papers to pass more than a million views and it is one where not only has it generated a large amount of scientific scientific interest it has also jumped a large amount of a sort of public interest but just to show you why what this the the metrics on this illustrate you can see that the metrics for the number of views which is in this graph at the bottom starting at one month in going up to around 100 months after publication it's gradually increased through time you can see here there's a indication of the number of article views that led to PDF downloads and that's quite a useful thing for us to look at because we tend to find that once you get above twelve to fifteen percent of a fat percentage being twelve to fifteen percent that indicates there's a higher academic usage rather than just purely popular usage because that's academics taking a paper downloading it onto their computer with the intention that they're going to use it later and then on the side here this is I've actually cooked by but actually put this together this is not exactly how it appears on the when you look at a paper but it will show you I put this here so you've got it all on screen is the number of citations and as you can see we present them across a number of different sources where the pain has been saved citeulike mentally and discussions that are ongoing and these rain range from your Wikipedia through to Twitter through to read it to through to various other places and it gives a you know very interesting i think snapshot of the activity of paper that's
one thing that you can do with the metrics but you can also use the metrics if you set up searches within our system to give you an idea if you're looking for something in a particular area whether a paper how's the paper bin which are the papers that you should be paying attention to as an academic and the example here is just one against around by biodiversity you might want to say ok I'm going to as an academic choose to look at the papers which have had more than a certain number of citations more than a certain number of views and help use that to help filter your reading and if you're particularly interested in the number of papers of those metrics for a university you can also use it to filter papers that way so this is research that was done papers from the University of Oklahoma and then
the final thing that we've were using metrics for at the moment it is expanding post pub vacation so we have recent developed a media curation application which means which means that not only do we as editors or internal pasta and look at look for coverage but we also can encourage anyone who's reading a paper to and let let us know about any coverage this has happened and we will we link to it on the paper itself and that we feel is a tremendously useful way of capturing post-publication activity that isn't captured in the other sort of traditional metrics that I've been showing you ok so just I
mentioned this is what the the difference between the article metrics when you're talking about scholarly user perhaps with versus the broader impact what we have taken a very strong position about losses we don't believe there is one one number that you can do two tiles together we find it useful to present the entire suite of metrics and allow readers users to decide themselves what they actually want to take away from it um it's also possible to
download the entire data set should you wish please ask us because it's just rather large and well but we'll happily provide it to you and just after we launch this program a feedback in 2007 and rather a lot of people did actually download it and one of my favorite tweets from that time was this one which was an author who said rather delightfully that to the metrics that we provided allowed him to quantify his insignificance I think actually his rather a significant author but it was great to see the types of the way that people using these data and you know
this is now a thriving industry we are delighted that this has taken off many different individuals are and organizations are using metrics to generate all sorts of interesting data and analyses and increasing we're seeing this incorporated for example into the repositories that institutions are using as well so pick your favorite to pick your favorite type of article metric and you know I'm sure somebody will be be doing
it okay so that's the end of my talk I hope that was useful and the meantime I'll leave you with the kangaroo on George Street in Brisbane who's hopefully also been rather alert thanks very much