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Thursday, October 17 • 11:30am - 12:30pm
Citations: how open do we want them?

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The panel for this session consists of:
  • Dominika Tkaczyk, Crossref
  • Ivan Heibi, Open Citations
  • Shelley Stall, American Geophysical Union
  • Kathleen Shearer, Coalition of Open Access Repositories
  • Richard Jefferson, The LENS (via remote connection)

The panel will be facilitated by:
  • Bianca Kramer, Utrecht University Library
  • Jeroen Bosman, Utrecht University Library

Citations are an important aspect of scholarly infrastructure. Citation databases play an important role in discovery and assessment; however, they currently lack community governance and often have restricted access. Over half of all articles referenced in Crossref now have openly available citations thanks to the I4OC initiative, enabling the citations to be used by anyone for any purpose. For example, OpenCitations have built the open citations index of DOI-to-DOI citations (COCI - https://opencitations.net/index/coci). Yet what about the other half? When publishers themselves cannot be convinced to make citations open, are there other sources that can be used instead? If so, what role do license restrictions play in the availability and reuse of citations from these sources?

This panel session covers two potential ways of sourcing open citation information and the dilemmas posed by their incompatible license requirements:
  • Crowdsourced Open Citations Index (CROCI - https://opencitations.net/index/croci) - begun by OpenCitations in 2019 as a project in which anyone can deposit citation information, as long as they have the legal right to do so. The information is deposited with a Creative Commons CC0 license in order to enable reuse without limitations.
  • Microsoft Academic (MA - https://academic.microsoft.com/home) and The Lens (https://www.lens.org) can provide a source of citations that are not openly available through Crossref. In both cases, the information is available for sharing and reuse under an Open Data Commons ODC BY license.
While citations crowdsourced through CROCI would be fully open for reuse, the approach is limited in scale. Meanwhile, sourcing information from Microsoft Academic or Lens means that more citations can be made publicly available, but also means that the citations cannot be reused without attribution - for example, they cannot be integrated with other open citations in COCI.

This raises interesting questions, which will also be discussed during this session:
  • What does openness mean for citations?
  • What are the potential uses cases for open citations?
  • Which is the best approach when sourcing citations that are currently not openly available?
  • Can citations really be subject to copyright and/or database licensing, when they are simply statements of fact about relationships between publications?


Ivan Heibi

University of Bologna
avatar for Shelley Stall

Shelley Stall

Vice President, Open Science Leadership, American Geophysical Union
Shelley Stall is the Vice President of the American Geophysical Union’s Open Science Leadership Program. She works with AGU’s members, their organizations, and the broader research community to improve data and digital object practices with the ultimate goal of elevating how research... Read More →
avatar for Bianca Kramer

Bianca Kramer

Sesame Open Science
avatar for Jeroen Bosman

Jeroen Bosman

scholarly communication specialist, Utrecht University
Jeroen Bosman is subject librarian for Geosciences at Utrecht University Library and an expert in the field of Open Science, Open Access, citation databases and tools for scholarly communication.

Thursday October 17, 2019 11:30am - 12:30pm BST
Plenary Room