About

OpenCitations is run by David Shotton (Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford) and Silvio Peroni (Department of Classic Philology and Italian Studies, University of Bologna), who are the Directors of OpenCitations.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for comments, questions, and further information at [email protected]. You can also follow us on Twitter, GitHub, and Wordpress.

An in-depth description of OpenCitations' goals, data, and services can be found at:

Silvio Peroni, David Shotton (2019). OpenCitations, an infrastructure organization for open scholarship. (To appear) Quantitative Science Studies. https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.11964

The story so far

OpenCitations has formally started in 2010 as a one-year project funded by JISC (with a subsequent extension), with David Shotton as director, who at that time was working in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford. The project was global in scope, and was designed to change the face of scientific publishing and scholarly communication, since it aimed to publish open bibliographic citation information in RDF and to make citation links as easy to traverse as Web links. The main deliverable of the project, among several outcomes, was the release of an open repository of scholarly citation data described using the SPAR (Semantic Publishing and Referencing) Ontologies, and named the OpenCitations Corpus (OCC), which was initially populated with the citations from journal articles within the Open Access Subset of PubMed Central.

At the end of 2015, after David Shotton had become a member of the Oxford e-Research Centre at the University of Oxford, Silvio Peroni of the University of Bologna joined OpenCitations as co-director and technical manager, with the aim of setting up a new instantiation of the Corpus based on a new metadata schema and employing several new technologies to automate the ingestion of fresh citation metadata from authoritative sources. Silvio Peroni is now a member of the Department of Classic Philology and Italian Studies at the University of Bologna, and the current instantiation of the OCC is hosted by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Bologna. Since the beginning of July 2016 OCC has been ingesting, processing and publishing reference lists of scholarly papers available in Europe PubMed Central. Additional metadata for these citations are obtained from Crossref and (for authors) ORCID.

In 2017, OpenCitations was awarded of a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for The OpenCitations Enhancement Project. The funding was used to improve the hardware and software infrastructure for handling the data and hosting all the services OpenCitations makes available. During this period, OpenCitations has developed a number of citation indexes using the data openly available in third-party bibliographic databases. The first and largest of these is COCI, the OpenCitations Index of Crossref open DOI-to-DOI citations.

In 2019, OpenCitations wa awarded of another grant from the Wellcome Trust for the Open Biomedical Citations in Context Corpus project. The aim of this project is to create a new dataset containing data for each individual in-text reference, making it possible to distinguish references that are cited only once from those that are cited multiple times, to see which references are cited together (e.g. in the same sentence), to determine in which section of the article references are cited (e.g. Introduction, Methods), and, potentially, to retrieve the function of the citation.

Recently, at the end of 2019, OpenCitations has been selected by the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS) for their second round of crowd-funding support. They stated that OpenCitations aligns well with open science goals and is an innovative service - considering that open citation data are important to the community since they have the potential to support change in research assessment, and if successful could be a game changer by challenging established proprietary citation services. Starting in January 2020, SCOSS will invite research organizations, scholarly institutions and funders of all sizes throughout the world to contribute financially in proportion to their size and ability to sustain OpenCitations' operations over the next three years as it transitions into a global scholarly infrastructure organization with a secure financial footing.

OpenCitations is currently managed by the Research Centre for Open Scholarly Metadata, an independent research centre within the University of Bologna. The Research Centre has an International Board drawn from leaders within the main bibliographic stakeholder communities of relevance (librarians, bibliometricians, academics, data service providers, etc.) who have shown past solid commitment to open scholarship. The statutes of the Research Centre will ensure that OpenCitations' original aim of free provision of open bibliographic and citation data, services and software is maintained, and that OpenCitations as an organization cannot in future be taken over or controlled by commercial interests, nor become involved in political, regulatory, legislative or financial lobbying of any kind.

License for data, text, and software

The data held in any of the OpenCitations datasets are made freely available under a Creative Commons public domain dedication (CC0).

The text of the web pages that comprise the OpenCitations web site is made freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License.

The software developed by OpenCitations for implementing all the services is made freely available on GitHub under the ISC License.