[LINK] Is the Thomson Reuters Data Citation Index Worth Paying For?

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Wed Nov 21 12:21:19 AEDT 2012

Greetings from the Hancock Learning Commons at the Australian National 
University in Canberra, where I am attending a presentation on the 
Thomson Reuters Data Citation Index: 

This attempts to add data to the traditional papers and books which 
academics get credit for producing. Thomson Reuters' offering was 
released a few weeks ago and ANU has been trying it out. Initially there 
were 2 million records in 69 repositories, including the Australian Data 
Archive (ADA): http://www.ada.edu.au/

About half the current contents are from the USA, 42% from Europe. About 
half is from the life sciences.

What was not clear to me is what benefit the academic and research 
community gain by using Thomson Reuters' service. Presumably Thomson 
Reuters will charge money for use of their service. The information 
being indexed is almost all free open access material paid for by the 
public. It is not clear why academics should then pay Thomson Reuters 
for accessing free information.

The Australian Government funded Australian National Data Service the 
Australian Research Data Commons and similar free open access 
repositories are being linked up around the world: 

If Thomson Reuters can add value to this, then the benefits they are 
offering need to be compared with what they propose to charge and a 
decision made if this investment is in the public interest. It may not 
be a good use of public money for each university in Australia 
individually buy a subscription from Thomson Reuters.

Thomson Reuters collect up the metadata provided by repositories around 
the world and provide a global search facility to subscribers. The same 
service could be provided by others by harvesting this metadata.

The other service which is likely to be of more interest to academics, 
is that they harvest the citations of the datasets. Academics get hired 
and promoted partly on how many times their work is mentioned (cited) in 
published work. It is now possible to cite a dataset in the same way as 
publications, such as using APA. This will then increase the academics' 
citation ranking. If a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is used, this 
makes the collection of the citations relatively easy: 

Tom Worthington FACS CP, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards

Adjunct Lecturer, Research School of Computer Science,
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/

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