Submission date: 
16 September 2021

Citation is a pillar for the construction of knowledge. By creating proper citations in a standardized way researchers can constitute a mesh of linked information for various purposes (from credit to reuse). This becomes increasingly important as the SSHOC Task 3.4 team confronts the realities of Social Sciences and Humanities Research in a digital age, when machine actionability takes on a renewed and vital importance.

After conducting an inventory of data citation practices (SSHOC D3.2 “Inventory of SSH citation practices, and choice for SSHOC citation formats and implementation planning”) and analysing the citation of data in DH1 2019 conference abstracts in order to build specifications for the citation prototype, the team discovered a very diverse landscape of data repositories.

As a result, the team developed recommendations for citation in coordination with SSHOC Work Package 2 (Communication, Dissemination, and Impact), validated by external reviewers. These recommendations were used to guide a deeper analysis of citation practices in various SSH repositories and how they correspond to these recommendations in order to have a better idea of the current situation. This analysis was carried out in both a quantitative and qualitative fashion.

For the qualitative part, the main goal was to describe, in detail, a selection of repositories representative of the SSH domain. The choice of repositories was made in collaboration with the SSHOC network in order to have a good representation of the very diverse contexts in SSH. This qualitative analysis focused on how these repositories were constructed to provide data citation services in detail.

For the quantitative part, a list of repositories was already established by SSHOC Task 8.2 “Trust & Quality Assurance” and the team took this opportunity to establish synergies and extract a list of repositories to be checked according to defined criteria regarding data citation. The analysis checked 85 repositories from a list of 125 against a set of 7 criteria. In order to facilitate the work, the team used the citation viewer which is part of the prototype mentioned above. The main result of this quick study is that while there are positive signs, especially with respect to the use of landing pages and Persistent Identifiers (PIDs), there is quite a bit of room for improvement as a lot of repositories do not provide machine actionable information. This makes the prototype the Task 3.4 team is currently developing to create actionable citations all the more useful. It also appears from this work that it will be necessary to manually curate some citations in order to enrich them and make them actionable as the information is not always directly available (e.g., a landing page provides a link to a page which contains metadata expressed in another format).

The result of this study will feed the development of the citation prototype developed in Task 3.4 and also liaise with SSHOC WP7 “Creating the SSH Open Marketplace” to integrate citations in SSH Open Marketplace2 with a “Cite As” property in the backend and Cite As box in the frontend interface. Another link exists with the very similar work currently being carried out in CLARIN for the Digital Object Gateway.

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