Investing in invisible infrastructure
" ... As a modern publisher, we don’t just print articles or slap them on the web as a PDF; we add value by making the articles more discoverable and usable so people can actually interact with the information instead of just reading it – and ultimately find answers to their questions. We need to maintain different versions of each article – PDF, html, xml – so they can be added to repositories and databases and made more discoverable and searchable. This means we need to ensure the metadata is accurate and detailed enough for people to use it effectively and for search engines to find it. We work with an array of standards bodies, including the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), a nonprofit association that develops technical standards to manage information like this, helping us support information retrieval, re-purposing, storage, metadata and preservation. By collaborating with other publishers and organizations like this around the world, Elsevier is contributing to building and maintaining this vital infrastructure so researchers and institutions can enjoy its benefits without even noticing it. This is one of the ways we reinvest in the community and incorporate the results into our solutions. We have recently mapped all the infrastructure and standards projects we’re involved in – here are some highlights ... Elsevier has been involved in some of these projects since the beginning as a founding partner. One is Crossref. The first task we worked on with Crossref was to develop the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) system: a way of assigning a unique code to every article published. It’s actually incredible when you think about it – a unique code that enables you to find any published article. This was one of the first systems that supported linking between scientific articles, not just from the same publisher but among publishers. Because of the DOI, we can find every article quickly and easily. It’s powerful and empowering for researchers, but it’s nearly invisible – especially how it works 'behind the scenes.' We have since worked on other projects through Crossref, including tackling plagiarism, something publishers are very concerned about. Several publishers worked together to launch CrossCheck, an anti-plagiarism tool. It enables editors to scan submitted documents to make sure they haven’t appeared elsewhere in the literature. This helps publishers make sure we’re protecting against unethical practices, and it also helps editors maintain the standards of the journals they work on ..."