Mendeley Brainstorm: Open Data – The Wave of the Future?

Is the future of data more open?
Is the future of data more open?

“Pirate Politics” are on the march. The Pirate Party of Iceland tripled their representation in the October election. Many organisations, including the Mozilla Foundation, are clamouring for copyright reform to allow more data sharing. Is Open Data the wave of the future? What are the downsides? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research! The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes January 11, 2017.

Pirates on the March

The Pirate Party of Iceland tripled their representation on October 29. Part of their appeal in a country as technology literate as Iceland may be their emphasis on open data and reform of copyright laws to allow the free sharing of information.

A Rebellion?

The Pirates’ success may be part of a wider reaction to the increasing restrictions afforded by copyright. For example, the tractor manufacturer John Deere recently argued in court that its ownership of the software in its vehicles extended beyond the point of their products’ sale. The Mozilla Foundation has also set up a campaign whose aim is to make copyright less stringent.

What Next?

As cultural guru Stewart Brand said, “On the one hand…information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable…on the other hand, information wants to be free because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time.” Is the future of data open? What are the positives and negatives of a more open paradigm? Tell us!

About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research.  We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.

References

COYLE, D. (2016). How the digital age cuts through notions of material ownership. The Financial Times. [online] Available at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d24bd5dc-83c8-11e6-a29c-6e7d9515ad15.html?siteedition=uk#axzz4M10uYtFG [Accessed 3 Oct. 2016].

DE FREYTAS-TAMURA, K. (2016). Iceland’s Prime Minister Resigns, After Pirate Party Makes Strong Gains. New York Times. [online] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/31/world/europe/icelands-prime-minister-resigns-after-pirate-party-makes-strong-gains.html?_r=0 [Accessed 2 Nov. 2016].

TURNER, Fred (2006). From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Mendeley Supports the Open Source CSL Project

Rintze Zelle 2

As a Mendeley user, you might already be familiar with the Citation Style Language (CSL).

This open source project, created by Bruce D’Arcus from Miami University, and run by a small team of volunteers, has become quite popular in recent years. CSL is currently used by over 20 software products, and there are over 6750 freely available citation styles for thousands of scientific journals. And CSL has a long history at Mendeley: since our first release in 2008, Mendeley has been using CSL styles to format citations and bibliographies (from 2010 onward, we also have been using the open source citeproc-js CSL processor by Frank Bennett of Nagoya University).

Over the last few years, Mendeley has moved away from simply using CSL and become one of its biggest contributors. Our very own Magnificent Code Matador, Carles Pina, collaborates with Sebastian Karcher and Rintze Zelle at the CSL project to improve the central CSL style repository, and he helped create CSL styles for 1500 Elsevier journals. We also collaborated with Columbia University Libraries to create the Visual CSL Editor, which was funded by a Sloan Foundation Award and released in 2012.

Now we’re increasing our support by, together with Elsevier, making the first major financial contribution to the CSL project. We have made a $5000 donation, and we hope this helps ensure the long-term sustainability of this valuable project.

Sebastian Karcher and Rintze Zelle commented that Mendeley is one of the most popular products to use CSL, and that this level of involvement is crucial in helping them move CSL forward. They hope others will follow Mendeley’s lead, and look forward to continue improving CSL, with better support for multilingual citations, legal citations, and archival sources. The CSL project also continues to reach out to publishers to further increase the number of journals covered by CSL styles.

Here at Mendeley we’re really proud to support an initiative that helps the academic community with their research. We would also like to hear your experiences of using CSL and what improvements you’d like to see implemented. As usual, feel free to get in touch with Mendeley via the feedback forum, or leave a comment here.

Mendeley contributes 2000 citation styles to the open citation style repository at citationstyles.org

Scholars looking to publish in one of the approximately 30,000 peer reviewed scholarly journals (per Ulrich’s) have a big problem on their hands. They have to prepare the text of their manuscript according to the style specified by the journal, process the images as specified by the journal, prepare the necessary disclosures, deposit datasets into the appropriate repositories, and do a host of other activities according to their field, and then every citation must be written in a specific format that is (often trivially) different for every one of the approximately 2000 publishers of peer-reviewed scholarly content. As if doing the research isn’t hard enough!

Slowly, ever so slowly, technology is changing this practice.Read More »

One on one with Bruce D'Arcus, creator of the community-driven Citation Style Language

Bruce D'ArcusMost of our users know that Mendeley can format citations automatically in most word processors. Some may not realize, however, that this bit of magic wasn’t developed entirely by us. Rather, we use tools that were created by a global community of academics and released for everyone to use. I recently had a conversation with the initiator of this movement, Bruce D’Arcus, on where the project is going, what it means to research, and how you can take part.Read More »