Who Should Notify Authors Whenever They Are Cited?

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 13:11:07 -0500

Peter Suber wrote in Open Access News:

      Notifying authors when they are cited 
      Elsevier has launched CiteAlert, a free service notifying
      authors when one of their papers is cited by an Elsevier
      journal.  (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)  The service only
      covers citations to articles published since 2005 in
      journals indexed by Scopus.


 * This is useful as far as it goes, and I can see why Elsevier
    can't take it much further on its own.  But imagine if all
    journal publishers offered similar services.  The utility of
    receiving their reports, knowing that they comprehensively
    covered the field, would be immense.  But the labor of signing up
    for each one separately would also be immense, not to mention the
    labor of re-creating the service at thousands of different
    publishers.  The bother of reading separate reports from separate
    publishers would also be immense.  I understand that Elsevier's
    portfolio is larger than anyone else's, but the long tail of
    academic publishing means that Elsevier's titles still constitute
    less than 10% of all of peer-reviewed journals.
 * I'd like to see a service that notifies authors when one of their
    works is cited by any journal, regardless of its publisher.  If
    this can't be done by a creative developer harvesting online
    information (because the harvester doesn't have access
    to TA sites), then how about a consortial solution from the
    publishers themselves?  And don't stop at emails to authors. 
    Create RSS feeds which users can mash-up in any way they like. 
    Imagine getting a feed of your citations from this hypothetical
    service and a feed of your downloads from your institutional
    repository.  Imagine your IR feeding the citations in your
    articles to an OA database, upon which anyone could draw,
    including this hypothetical service.
 * Who could do this?  OpenURL?  CrossRef?  ParaCite?  Google
    Scholar?  OCLC (after it acquiresOAIster)? A developer at an
    institution like Harvard with access to the bulk of TA journals? 
    Perhaps someone could build the OA database now, with the
    citation-input and email- and RSS-output functions, and worry
    later about how to recruit publishers and repositories and/or how
    to harvest their citations.
It is clear who should notify whom -- once the global research
community's (Green OA ) task is done. Our task is first to get all
refereed research journal articles self-archived in their authors'
Institutional Repositories (IRs) immediately upon acceptance for
publication. (To accomplish that we need universal Green OA deposit
mandates to be adopted by all institutions and funders, worldwide.)

Once all current and future articles are being immediately deposited
in their authors' IRs, the rest is easy: 

The articles are all in OAI-compliant IRs. The IR software treats the
articles in the reference list of each of its own deposited articles
as metadata, to be linked to the cited article, where it too is
deposited in the distributed network of IRs. A citation harvesting
service operating over this interlinked network of IRs can then
provide (among many, many other scientometric services ) a
notification service, emailing each author of a deposited article
whenever a new deposit cites it. (No proporietary firewalls, no toll-
or access-barriers: IR-to-IR, i.e., peer-to-peer.)

Stevan Harnad
Received on Thu Jan 29 2009 - 18:11:46 GMT

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