Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, April 04, 2008

OA for literature-based discovery

Glen Newton, Free the articles (full-text for researchers & scientists), Zzzoot, April 4, 2008.  Excerpt:

At a recent plenary I gave (earlier post) at the Colorado Association of Research Libraries Next Gen Library Interfaces conference, I went a little off-script and was educating (/haranguing) the mostly librarian audience about the present-and-near-future importance of the accessibility of full-text research articles to their researchers and scientists....

I was referring to the machine-accessibility of the text....

I was concerned because of the increasing number of discipline-specific tools that use full-text (& metadata & citations) to allow users (via text mining, semantic analysis, etc.) to navigate, analyze and discover new ideas and relationships, from the research literature. The general label for this kind of research is 'literature-based discovery', where new knowledge hidden in the literature is exposed using text mining and other tools.

Most publisher licenses do not allow for the sort of access to the full-text that many of these discovery tools need.

When I asked for a show of hands of how many were aware of this issue, of the ~200 in the audience, no one raised their hand....

I suggested the following non-mutually-exclusive strategies:

  • demanding licenses from publishers and aggregators that allow them to offer access to full-text for analysis by arbitrary patron tools
  • asking publishers to publish their full-text in the Open Text Mining Interface (OTMI)
  • supporting Open Access journals which support much of this this out-of-the-box...

[For example] this study shows how researchers discovered the biochemical pathway involved in drug addiction from the literature alone. They did no experiments. This discovery was derived from an analysis and extraction of information from more than 1000 articles! This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. Clearly, this sort of analysis can save time and money in discovering important and relevant scientific knowledge.

PS:  See my past posts on how OA facilitates meta-analysis and text-mining.