Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Improving text mining, short of OA

Structured Digital Abstracts - Easier Literature Searching But Not Democratic, Bitesize Bio, April 24, 2008.  Excerpt:

FEBS Letters is this month carrying out an interesting experiment that could make literature searching easier for both human and computers....

Structured Digital Abstracts (SDA)...are extensions of the normal journal article abstracts that describe the relationship between two biological entities, mentioning the method used to study the relationship. Each sentence is preceded by one or more identifiers pointing to the corresponding database entries that contain the full details of the interaction e.g. protein A interacts with protein B, by method X.

The aim of SDA is to assist data entry, text mining and literature searching by extracting the salient data from the article into simple sentences using a defined structure and controlled vocabularies....

This month’s edition FEBS letters contains a number of articles annotated with SDA, along with some articles on SDA itself.

This is a simple but very good idea and I would certainly appreciate anything that makes literature searching easier.

But I can’t help noting the delicious irony in the title of the first article in the issue that trumpets the arrival of SDA: “Finally: The digital, democratic age of scientific abstracts”.

The first irony is that reading this article on digital democracy requires a subscription to FEBS Letters....

Wouldn’t the flow of information be better served if everyone just published in open access journals?