During the 2016 fiscal year, the Smithsonian Research Online (SRO) program achieved several goals to ensure that publications authored by Smithsonian researchers were more easily discoverable and reused. This blog entry is meant to list some of those accomplishments and describe their significance.
Author Identity Management
An author identity service was started whereby Smithsonian authors are identified among the list of all co-authors of a publication. Using unique identifiers (ORCID or the locally defined, Profiles ID) variations of author names have been unified. This will help reporting in the future, for example where we receive a request to show all publications by a particular author but whose name may vary in the literature. Author identity management has also helped move the data into Smithsonian Profiles (restricted to Smithsonian staff currently) to document individual research output and associate both publications and grants individuals. It is likely that in the near future the use of author identifiers will help in the process to standardize the way the SRO data is reused by webmasters on Smithsonian websites which showcase individual research publications. An effort to register as many Smithsonian scholars with ORCID as possible continues with the help of Libraries staff in multiple departments.
Altmetric Badge Integration
Altmetric badges have been included in the SRO website display of search results and were included on reports to museum units. Altmetric (a Digital Science company) collects media activity around research outputs which are published online. This kind of information may be of interest to some scholars but is more valuable to communications and public information offices who are interested in knowing where their museum or research unit is being discussed, forwarded, linked, etc. on the web.
Public Access Compliance
A set of procedures was established to integrate the Smithsonian’s Public Access to Federally Funded Research Materials implementation plan into SRO workflow. This was not as easy as it seemed at first. Since Smithsonian authored publications now go through the Scholarly Press which handles rights to publications, SRO staff have to observe embargoes and set reminders to “brighten” author manuscripts in the Repository when embargo periods have expired. One bright spot was the development of an informal notification service whereby SRO staff who handle a recently-accepted manuscript can forward the document to the relevant Public Information/Communication Office of the research unit. This notification to media offices allows them to evaluate more carefully whether any additional press activity is warranted for the article and if so, it allows them enough lead time to prepare it.
Improved Indexing by Google
A new format was applied to the SRO search results so that when citations are displayed, they are easily parsed and harvested by Google and Google Scholar. This includes the use of RDFa and a direct-to-PDF link. The RDFa format structures the data to encourage inclusion in web search results while the direct-to-PDF link is an element which Google Scholar has specified as a desirable piece to ensure inclusion in their search results. So far both have shown positive results in the web presence of the SRO.
Also worth noting is that late in the fiscal year, the entire database was accidentally deleted and the service was temporarily rendered unusable. Fortunately the Smithsonian’s Office of the Chief Information Officer performs regular backups on all databases and the SRO data was restored in less than 24 hours.