Meet ORCID Publisher Member, ScienceOpen

Alice Meadows's picture

Continuing our occasional series of interviews with members of the ORCID community, today meet Stephanie Dawson, CEO of ORCID publisher member ScienceOpen. A longtime ORCID integrator, they have been working to ensure their use of ORCID meets our Collect & Connect requirements.  We were delighted to recently award them our Authenticate, Collect, Display, and Connect badges.

Please can you tell us a bit about ScienceOpen - what your organization does and your role there?

I am the CEO of ScienceOpen, a discovery and professional networking platform for researchers across all fields. Main features include a database of 32 million article records and strong filtering tools such as through citations, Altmetric score, and usage. We use the references in each paper to create a citation network, enhance content discovery, and provide tools for individual researchers to promote and track usage of their work.

We also offer a whole range of features to support publishers and editors. As our name implies, we have our roots in the open science movement. We believe strongly that free access to knowledge drives creativity, innovation and development.  We also believe that the best way forward is through constructive engagement between all stakeholders in scholarly communication. ScienceOpen is always exploring innovative ways to open up information for the community.

When and why did ScienceOpen get involved with ORCID?

ScienceOpen began requiring ORCID profiles for users engaging with research on our platform – as comments, peer reviews, recommendations or articles – from our very inception in 2013. ORCID was less than a year old when we joined, but we immediately saw the advantage for users to manage their publication record at one publisher-independent site. We saw “profile fatigue” as a real issue for new networking platforms and wanted to make it as easy as possible for researchers to connect with their peers and share their expertise. With ORCID, this is automated and takes mere seconds!

How is ScienceOpen currently using ORCID and what are your future plans for your integration?

The experience and expertise of a researcher is critical context for understanding their assessment of an experimental method, dataset or conclusion. Because we allow any user to comment on and peer review articles on our site, we currently require an ORCID to validate a researcher’s identity and expertise. This increases the transparency on our site, the validity and certification of engagement, and provides a key element in keeping the level of scientific discourse high*. Our future plans include connecting these open peer reviews to the user’s ORCID record so that they get even more credit and recognition for their contributions than we already provide.

Users can connect their entire ORCID record with us at the click of a button, integrating their entire publication history into our citation network. ScienceOpen also provides dynamic ways to sort and search a researcher’s publication list once they have synchronized with ORCID. For researchers with 50 or 500 publications to their record, it can help their colleagues to quickly identify top publications sorted by readers or citations, or to drill down and filter by the most relevant topic. With our newest release, if an author claims and article on ScienceOpen we can update their ORCID record automatically.

What impact has ORCID had in your community?

By requiring an extra ORCID step for creating an account on ScienceOpen, we set the hurdle for registering on ScienceOpen relatively high. This may have resulted in fewer casual registrations, especially at the beginning. We often had to explain to users the why, what and how of ORCID. But as ORCID has increasingly become the standard for authors, publishers and institutes, more and more researchers can just register on ScienceOpen with one click via the ORCID OAuth login, and then unlock their discovery and impact potential in their bibliography. We have virtually no problems with the ORCID validation step these days and many ScienceOpen profiles are now complete with affiliation, biography, keywords and more. By integrating like this, we make sure that all user data remains in their hands, is verifiable, and importantly part of a sustainable scholarly infrastructure. Why recreate the wheel when instead you can use it to build a car?

What can we do to improve our support for your community?

The ORCID team has been very supportive of our development goals. I think we both share the same goal of having as many accurate records as possible. In a time when we are suffering a global information and knowledge  crisis, verifiability has never been more important. ORCID has issued over 3.5 million identifiers at the present. If those users knew that just one step away was a whole world of amazing research features, we could help to change the face of scholarly communication.

What's your favorite ORCID success story?

I see every profile as a success story, but some are more extensive than others. I recently worked with Prof. George Perry, Alzheimer’s researcher and Dean at University of Texas at San Antonio, to set up his profile on ScienceOpen. With 1292 publications it would have been a nearly insurmountable task to add them all to ScienceOpen without ORCID and this very active and busy researcher would probably not have made the effort. But with one click we could populate his profile for him and now users can search, filter and sort to ask questions like how many of those publications are Open Access? What is his top Altmetric score versus top citation numbers? Did he publish any papers on environmental factors of the disease? In my experience, as soon as a list is longer than 20, a scroll bar is not the most effective discovery tool. But we would not be able to build such discovery features based on an author’s output without the help of ORCID!

Which three words best describe ORCID for you?

Integrated, independent, infrastructure.

*Note that where users do not satisfy these criteria, we can ‘upgrade’ their accounts on request to unlock the peer review features.