Stuttgart, Germany – DataCite and STM, the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers, have issued a series of recommendations to improve the accessibility of primary research data. During the past three years, two chemical journals published by Thieme served as test cases for Chemistry: Synthesis and Synlett. Authors who published in these journals had the option to also publish their primary data via the online platform Thieme eJournals, making them accessible to other researchers. Just like any other scientific publication, the primary data was identified with a digital object identifier (DOI).
Scientific research produces a large number of primary data every day. In chemistry, for example, these data – completely digital in form – are generated during computer simulations and when new substances are characterized. Most of this primary data was used almost exclusively by the original researchers for their own scientific purposes because, up till now, it was not possible to access it systematically. To change this, STM, the cooperation of international science publishers, joined forces with 15 major libraries and information centers organized in the non-profit research network DataCite, formed in 2009, to develop a set of recommendations for better primary data accessibility. The recommendations provide a framework for making primary data available to the scientific community via publication in online journal platforms.
The articles published in the print and online publications of cooperating science journals contain a DOI reference to the respective primary data – and vice versa. Thus, not only the research results get published, but also the primary data they are based on. Natural science research in particular profits from this approach. “By gaining access to primary data university researchers can draw from a wealth of scientific resources that will directly benefit them in their own laboratory and research activities,” explains Guido F. Herrmann, Head of Thieme Chemistry. “This drives scientific progress by promoting synergies within the scientific community.”
At the onset of the cooperation, Thieme worked together with experts at the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB) and DataCite to define consistent processes and formats for primary data publication. This structure, in conjunction with a central archive, resulted in a service that makes valuable information available to the authors and readers of Synthesis and Synlett. “Without this service by DataDite, it would not be possible to access primary data systematically – they would be of no value to other scientists,” stresses Uwe Rosemann, Director of TIB. “The test case of Synthesis and Synlett demonstrated how professional services from libraries and publishers can support scientists in their work,” he added.
The participation of scientific authors is a key success factor of this approach. By making their primary data available, authors not only support the scientific community, but also their own careers. As Philip Kocienski, a scientist at University of Leeds who repeatedly published his primary data with his articles in Synthesis and Synlett, points out: “If a scientist publishes his primary data alongside his academic publication, these data will be archived permanently. Other scientists will be able to access, research, link to and of course cite them. They serve as an additional opportunity for scientific authors to draw attention to their research work.”
As the German central special library for technology as well as architecture, chemistry, computer science, mathematics and physics TIB has been effective in its function as an innovative and professional information supplier for over a decade. Based on its excellent inventory, today TIB is one of the world’s largest specialized libraries and most productive document supplier in its specialized areas. As part of the national research infrastructure TIB realizes projects for the benefit of science and business. The organization is a pioneer particularly in the areas of full text supply and information management. In 2005 TIB became the first agency for DOI registration of primary data in the world. TIB is a founding member of DataCite.
Thieme Publishing Group is a scientific and medical publishing house employing more than 950 people and maintaining offices in seven cities, including New York, Delhi, Stuttgart and three other locations in Germany. Founded in 1886, the Thieme name has become synonymous with high quality and excellence in medical and scientific publishing. Today, Thieme is the market leading publisher of neurosurgical content and holds strong market positions in orthopedics,radiology, anatomy and chemistry, among other specialties. Thieme publishes 140 peer-reviewed journals and over 500 new books annually. The company also has a rapidly growing array of web-based products in medicine and science. State-of-the-art online products include Thieme eJournals, Thieme Electronic Book Library, the medical student website WinkingSkull.com and Thieme Teaching Assistant, an innovative web-based platform for faculty. For more information about Thieme, please visit www.thieme.com.
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