January 27, 2022

29 Academic Publishers, Wikimedia Foundation, DataCite, and MANY Others Launch “Initiative for Open Citations” (I4OC)

The initial list of 68 organizations and publishers (see below) participating in the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) formally launching today is mighty impressive!

One thing you’ll quickly notice is that they come from a number of countries. We look forward to seeing the list grow with more organizations/publishers from more nations.

ARL, CDL, COAR, Internet Archive, OpenAire, Max Planck Digital Library are library-related organizations already involved in I4OC and as stakeholders.

We’re planning to update this post with additional info, links, and answers to questions that we’ve asked to those in charge of of the initiative.




Background (via I4OC)

Before I4OC started, only about 1% of the publications with reference data deposited in Crossref made their references freely available. Now, that figure will jump to 40%.[1]

The key benefits that arise from a fully open citation dataset include:

  1. The establishment of a global public web of linked scholarly citation data to enhance the discoverability of published content, both subscription access and open access. This will particularly benefit individuals who are not members of academic institutions with subscriptions to commercial citation databases.

  2. The ability to build new services over the open citation data, for the benefit of publishers, researchers, funding agencies, academic institutions and the general public, as well as enhancing existing services.

  3. The creation of a public citation graph to explore connections between knowledge fields, and to follow the evolution of ideas and scholarly discipline

[1] percentage of publications with open references out of the total number of publications with reference metadata deposited with Crossref. As of March 2017, nearly 35 million articles with references have been registered with Crossref. Citation data from the Crossref REST API will be made available shortly after the announcement.

From the FAQ

How Do I Access the Open Citation Data?

Once made open, the references for individual scholarly publications may be accessed within a few days through the Crossref REST API. For information on how to use the interface, see their REST API guide (example query: https://api.crossref.org/works/10.1038/227680a0.)

Open citations are also available from the OpenCitations Corpus, a database created to house scholarly citations, that is progressively and systematically harvesting citation data from Crossref and other sources. An advantage of accessing citation data from the OpenCitations Corpus is that they are available in standards-compliant machine-readable RDF format, and include information about both incoming and outgoing citations of bibliographic resources (published articles and books).

Learn More About the Open Citation Corpus

Learn More: Direct to I4OC FAQ

Fast Fact (via OCC)

As of April 06, 2017, the OCC has ingested the references from:
128690 citing bibliographic resources
and contains information about 5513471 citation links
to 3560709 cited resources.

How Can Publishers Share Data?

Many other publishers have expressed interest in opening up their reference data. They can do this via Crossref, with a simple email to support@crossref.org requesting they turn on reference distribution for all their DOI prefixes.

I4OC will provide regular updates on the growth of the public citation corpus, how the data are being used, additional stakeholders and participating publishers as they join, and as new services are developed.

Founding Sponsors of the Open Citation Initiative:

  • OpenCitations
  • Wikimedia Foundation
  • PLOS
  • eLife
  • DataCite
  • Centre for Culture and Technology, Curtin University


See Also: Several Publications About OpenCitations
This project began in 2010.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.