Reference lists of more than 60 million articles in scientific journals indexed by Crossref – the database that records Doi, and digital object identifiers, for many academic publications around the world – can now be viewed and reused free of charge. According to reports from Nature, this is a real turning point, the result of a campaign launched in 2017 by the Initiative for Open Quotations (I4OC).
Free access to (finally) citations allows researchers to identify research trends and areas in need of funding, as well as identify cases in which scholars are manipulating the number of citations.
Upon launch, I4OC partnered with 29 academic publishers to make references available on 14 million articles. Five years later, that number had jumped to more than 60 million, covering all newspapers indexed on Crossref. Citation documents and actual documents cited may still be subject to a paywall (the digital payment barrier used by publishers in some types of online services), but their referral lists are not. The citations for Crossref articles that were provided do not mean that all academic content in the world now contains open references. Although most major international academic publishers, including Elsevier, Springer Nature (which publishes Nature), and Taylor & Francis, index their articles at Crossref, some do not: the latter often publishes regional papers and in languages other than English.
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