The Initiative for Open Citations

We are glad to inform that the publishing house "Virtus Interpress" has joined The Initiative for Open Citations I4OC that is a collaboration between scholarly publishers, researchers, and other interested parties to promote the unrestricted availability of scholarly citation data.

Citations are the links that knit together scientific and cultural knowledge. They are primary data that provide both provenance and an explanation for how we know facts. They allow to attribute and credit scientific contributions, and they enable the evaluation of research and its impacts. In sum, citations are the most important vehicle for the discovery, dissemination, and evaluation of all scholarly knowledge.

As the number of scholarly publications is estimated to double every nine years, citations – and the computational systems that track them – enable researchers and the public to keep abreast of significant developments in any given field. For this to be possible, it is essential to have unrestricted access to bibliographic and citation data in machine-readable form.

The present scholarly communication system inadequately exposes the knowledge networks that already exist within our literature. Citation data are not usually freely available to access, they are often subject to inconsistent, hard-to-parse licenses, and they are usually not machine-readable.

Thus, the main aim of The Initiative for Open Citations is to promote the availability of data on citations that are structured, separable, and open. Structured means the data representing each publication and each citation instance are expressed in common, machine-readable formats, and that these data can be accessed programmatically. Separable means the citation instances can be accessed and analyzed without the need to access the source bibliographic products (such as journal articles and books) in which the citations are created. Open means the data are freely accessible and reusable.

Key benefits of achieving this aim include:

  • The establishment of a global public web of linked scholarly citation data to enhance the discoverability of published content, both subscription access and open access. This will particularly benefit individuals who are not members of academic institutions with subscriptions to commercial citation databases.
  • The ability to build new services over the open citation data, for the benefit of publishers, researchers, funding agencies, academic institutions and the general public, as well as enhancing existing services.
  • The creation of a public citation graph to explore connections between knowledge fields, and to follow the evolution of ideas and scholarly disciplines.

Taking part in such an initiative, we stand by the idea that promotion of the unrestricted availability of scholarly citation data is very important. We will continue implementing the best publishing practices in our activity in order to establish most reliable cooperation with our stakeholders.