21 March 2013

Landing pages, or citation springboards?

Have you noticed how we talk about a DOI going to a 'landing page'? It's a strange way to describe a page that should not be an endpoint but rather a springboard - somewhere people may land briefly but that is really designed to re-launch scholarly content into the workflows and tools that are in the scholar's space, rather than ours.

We are currently investigating a number of things that we hope will improve the discoverability, citability and re-use of our scholarly content. This includes data collections, the focus of this current project, but could be applied equally to all sorts of other outputs including journal articles, theses and technical reports.

Embedded metadata

We will embed some or all of the following types of metadata into the landing pages for each of our scholarly objects, including data collections.

If I understand it correctly, these types of embedded metadata will help search engines crawl and index our scholarly content more effectively.

It will also make it easier for a user of our services to import a citation for one of our scholarly outputs to a web-based reference manager like Zotero or Mendeley.

Downloadable metadata

Importing citation to offline reference managers

Importing citations from subscription databases into Endnote or other similar products is a common work practice for many researchers, and something that many students get trained to do from their undergraduate days. It is not something that you see so commonly offered by institutional repositories, but is definitely something worth thinking about.

Packaging metadata with downloaded objects

Just as software downloads often come with a readme.txt file, some repositories now package metadata with the object at the time of download. The Merritt repository run by the University of California Curation Center (UC3) takes this approach.

Good old cut-and-paste

Finally, let's not forget that having a prominent well-formed citation statement on your landing page lets users simply cut-and-paste into a document, a note-taking tool, or a virtual stickynote.

We're at an early stage of investigating these strategies; the approach we will take will depend not just on technical feasibility and user demands, but also on resourcing and policy decisions. Hopefully we can report back on some real life experience with at least some of these strategies soon. While they seem to be small things individually, we think that collectively they could go a long way towards turning our landing pages into springboards!

14 March 2013

Communicating with data depositors about DOIs and citation

We've recently been looking at the way that Dryad promotes data citation through their notifications to researchers following a deposit.

As part of their community outreach, Dryad have kindly provided the text of the notifications in their submission workflow (see this presentation, for example), which would otherwise have been invisible except to depositors. It has been great to see a working example of this kind of communication and to think how we might implement something similar here at Griffith, in the first instance as a manual process (by direct email to the researcher) and in future as an automatic part of the self-deposit process.

Our current draft text is as follows:

Thank you for your recent submission to the Griffith University Data Repository titled: 
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 
Your data has received a unique identifier called a DOI. Including the DOI in published articles will make readers aware that the data files are available, and enable their access and citation.  
The DOI can be presented as follows: 
Data deposited in the Griffith University Data Repository: [insert the DOI here] 
Many journals specify a particular location for links to data in repositories, or have a section on data accessibility. You can also provide your data DOI in the text, just before the References. 
You can also use the DOI when showcasing your data through channels other than formal publications, such as press releases, social media updates, and as part of your CV.  
Your data will be presented to users of the repository with the following citation statement:  
[insert the citation statement here as it will appear on the display page] 
The repository also enables users to download this citation into common bibliographic management tools like Endnote, Zotero and Mendeley.  
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.  
The Griffith University Data Repository team

We have very closely followed the Dryad text for the first part of our draft email, but have chosen to supplement this in a few ways:

  1. We also suggest they use the DOI for less formal communications, including social media, because we are as interested in altmetrics for data as we are in data citations. 
  2. We suggest putting the DOI in documents like CVs. Conversations with our subject librarians have indicated that many researchers do not include DOIs (or even URLs in many cases) in their own publication lists. While the inclusion of DOIs on internal paperwork may not appear very significant, with more and more CV-type information now being posted online by researchers in LinkedIn, Academic.edu.au and other social services, over time this could make a difference (both in terms of metrics, but also hopefully in terms of cultural change).
  3. We may include a cut-and-paste-able version of the citation in the email, which will also appear on the landing page for the data collection. 
  4. We'll indicate the availability of the citation for download into some common bibliographic tools (more on these in a future blog post).

Several days ago we minted 14 DOIs for new collections that have arisen from a collaborative project to gather the outputs of the Urban Water Security Research Alliance. When these collections go live, we'll be sending out an email along the lines of the one above.

It will be interesting to see what kind of response we get to the email, and to track the use of these DOIs in future through formal indexes and altmetrics tools.