Submissions/Rich citations from open-access scientific papers

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This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2014.

lSubmission no. 6016
Title of the submission
Rich citations from open-access scientific papers
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Presentation followed by discussion
Author of the submission
Adam Becker
E-mail address



Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Public Library of Science (PLOS)
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Citations should connect you to the research you need. They should link directly to the relevant papers and data. They should tell you everything you need to know about how and where two pieces of text, code, or data are connected. They should be easy to use and they should never get in the way of the reading experience. In short, citations should not clumsily point to a mere chunk of plain undifferentiated text sitting in a static list at the end of the document. But with almost no exceptions, citations in scientific papers do just that, as do many citations within Wikipedia itself.

Let's do better. Let's imagine a world where we have connected all the information — scientific and otherwise — into a unified body of knowledge.

Rich citations are an improved method of handling bibliographic references. They carry a diverse set of machine-readable information about the citing document, the cited entity, and the relationship between them. In this session, I'll explain what rich citations are and how they work. I'll also demonstrate a (functional and live!) API that gathers this data from PLOS papers, along with a working paper viewer we have built on top of the API to demonstrate the power and versatility of rich citations. I'll also explain how you can get involved and help us take over liberate the world (of citations) by gathering rich citation information from a wide variety of sources, including Wikipedia, and creating an open citation database. We'll also be hosting a hackathon at PLOS HQ in San Francisco, which I'll tell you all about.

Adam Becker is a researcher with PLOS Labs, where he works to improve the way scientists communicate and share results; before that, he was at various times a freelance astrophysicist, a science journalist, and a data wrangler.

  • Open Scholarship
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
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Slides or further information (optional)
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