Persistent identifiers, or PIDs, may not seem the most rock’n’roll feature of the scientific research process, but the launch of a new two-day open festival, co-hosted by the California Digital Library, CrossRef, DataCite, and ORCiD, aims to change all that. PIDapalooza – the suffix comes from the early twentieth-century American word ‘lollapalooza’, meaning ‘an extraordinary thing’ and popularised by the Lollapalooza rock festival of the mid-1990s – will take place at the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel in Reykjavik on November 9th-10th; it aims to catalyse the development of PID-enabled community tools and services through “two days of discussions and brainstorming; demos, workshops, and updates”.
The annual conference of the Association of Learned, Professional, and Society Publishers may be longer established than PIDapalooza – next year’s event, to be hosted at the Grand Hotel Huis ter Tuin in the Netherlands, will mark its tenth anniversary – but it nonetheless offered an engaging and informative take on the current state of scholarly publishing. Disruption was a major theme: Zoe Harris’s keynote talk offered advice on embracing disruption from the perspective of the newspaper industry, while a session on Shifting Sands explored significant changes within the scientific research ecosystem. Robert Kiley of the Wellcome Trust explored this key research funder’s plans to open up access to outputs through initiatives such as Wellcome Open Research, and its requirement that final versions of all research supported by its funding be deposited with PubMed Central. Alex Hardy, publishing lawyer at Harbottle & Lewis, considered the likely legal implications of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union: intellectual property rights, including copyright, are likely to be largely unaffected, but publishers should be prepared for theEU General Data Protection Regulation, which imposes stricter obligations for companies and stronger rights for consumers, and will come into force in May 2018; the UK will not have left the EU by then, and the legislation applies equally to companies outside the EU offering services to EU citizens.
The conference saw the announcement of the winners of the ALPSP awards for Contribution to Scholarly Publishing and for Innovation. ORCiD’s Alice Meadows, formerly Director of Communications at Wiley, took home the Contribution award in recognition of her outstanding work both as an active participant in publishing initiatives and conversations, and as a mentor to the next generation of publishers. For the first time, there were two winners of the Innovation award: Cartoon Abstractsfrom Taylor & Francis uses cartoon-style illustration to visualise research in a way that engages a wider audience, particularly the young and non-scientific, while Wiley’s ChemPlanner uses machine learning techniques and vast amounts of data to optimise the synthesis of new molecules and so speed up the early stages of the drug creation process.
Innovation was also recognised this month in Digital Science’s Catalyst Grant awards, which support innovative work in new technologies and software tools for research with grants worth up to £15,000. The latest winners are Etalia, a cloud-based platform offering recommendations for people and papers generated from the researcher’s own reference library; intelligent search software provider Simiary, which contextualises unstructured data to enable searchers to discover relevant data more easily; and Writefull, an online application which offers editing and authoring guidance for academic writing, using Natural Language Processing to discover patterns in written language and thus offer corrections and replacements appropriate to academic writing.
The start-ups within the Digital Science stable have also announced a number of new partnerships. Figshare is working with the Royal Society to showcase the data from eleven of its publications on an aggregated Royal Society site and individual publication pages, making authors’ datasets publicly available, searchable and citeable from a single location. StablemateOverleaf has announced a partnership with the Virginia-based not-for-profit start-up Center for Open Science, enabling the automatic submission of manuscripts authored using the Overleaf platform to the new Open Science Framework Preprints service to be launched this autumn. And Altmetric will be collaborating with the Open Syllabus Project at the universities of Columbia and Stanford, adding data on the usage of one million books on the syllabi of more than four thousand academic institutions worldwide to the other insights it tracks in order to help publishers measure the uptake and influence of their titles. Meanwhile, SAGE publishing has announced the acquisition of the entire portfolio of more than eighty medicine, chemistry, and biological science journals previously published by open access publisher Libertas Academica.