Springer Nature’s Data Access Innovations

Springer Nature has been busy finding new ways to serve the research community. Close on the heels of the release of SharedIt and Recommended they have now pioneered SciGraph. SciGraph is a Linked Open Data platform that contains information collected from many different research data sources such as conferences, publications, and funding organizations. In future, the plan is to add information from even more sources including patents, citations, and clinical trials. Having all of this high-quality information available through SciGraph gives users an unparalleled semantic description of how all of these pieces of information are related. SciGraph, therefore, represents an opportunity to comprehensively assess the research landscape. Springer Nature has made sections of the underlying datasets available under a Creative Commons BY-NC license.

Presently, the semantic platform has 155 million facts or triples. With the planned addition of data from patents, clinical data, citations, and usage numbers, it is expected that there will be in excess of one billion triples by the end of next year. It is envisaged that most of these data sets will be freely available under the Creative Commons license. Experts can, therefore, download the data they are interested in and analyze them as they wish or use the exploration tools available on the Springer Nature SciGraph website.

The power of SciGraph lies in the fact that it allows you to answer a question without being as limited as you would usually be with traditional searches. For instance, you could query which conferences are scheduled in research areas that are currently benefitting from increased support from funding organizations. SciGraph is also unique in that it allows you to visualize the semantic relations you are interested in. Henning Schoenenberger, Director of Product Data and Metadata at Springer Nature revealed that it is their intention to create the largest Linked Open Data platform. In order to do so, they have used data in internal and external research silos and have transformed it so that it can be useful across the various parts of the research landscape.

In addition to serving the research community with the production of a semantics linked open data platform, Springer Nature has also opened up its reference lists. Springer Nature will make the metadata for all the reference lists in all its academic books and journals available via the Crossref Metadata API and Metadata Search. With this step, Springer Nature becomes the largest publisher to make all their reference metadata freely available. The idea behind the move is to allow researchers to easily mine databases. Springer Nature released standardized research data policies which outline a desire to support excellence in research and a commitment to data sharing. Making reference metadata freely available and creating a Linked Open Data semantics platform will certainly advance these goals.

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