Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Curating Research Data at Elsevier

Elsevier announced a partnership with Pangaea which is a 'data library' that links primary research data with journal articles in earth and environmental science. As I mentioned last week, information and academic publishers like Elsevier have long organized themselves around content areas but are now 'widening' their content 'silos' to accommodate tools, techniques and proprietary data provided by third parties. This is a good example of how the Elsevier 'platform' can and is being leveraged beyond what may have originally been envisioned as a closed system.

From their press release they note that this initiative extends one announced in February,

This next step follows the introduction, last February, of 'reciprocal linking' - automatically linking research data sets deposited at PANGAEA to corresponding articles in Elsevier journals on its electronic platform ScienceDirect and vice versa. The new feature adds a map to every ScienceDirect article that has associated research data at PANGAEA; it displays all geographical locations for which such data is available. A single click then brings the user from the ScienceDirect article to the research data set at PANGAEA.

"With an increasing interest in the preservation of research data, it is very important to make those data clearly visible in the context of the formal research publications," commented Jan Aalbersberg, Vice President Content Innovation at Elsevier. "Elsevier is committed to advance science by investing in such collaborations with data set repositories. This new feature will allow readers to easily go beyond the content of an article, and drill down to the research data sets."

As the press release goes on to say, we are starting to see how the web, the use of api's and other methods are eliminating the inefficiencies in sharing research data and analysis which academics have had to navigate around for many years. Ironically, while these large information companies may 'open' their platforms to produce much more utility for their subscribers, they may also be strengthening their positions as the clear leaders in providing information, analysis tools and other key functionality for their users. Their strategy continues to reflect the curation model I've discussed before although the evidence of this now extends far beyond the concentration of topic based content.

Prior post on Massive Data Sets
Posts on Content Curation

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