Photo by Alexander Hafemann on Unsplash

Aaron Tay published on Medium (29 June 2020) a roundup of services and stats on the current state of open abstract publishing, see: ‘Why openly available abstracts are important — overview of the current state of affairs‘. The overview is a valuable resource for anyone maintaining institutional repositories or related services as it give a number of examples of incremental steps a wide variety of maintainers could easily adopt.

The need for Open Access literature, metadata, and data mining in COVID-19 research only adds emphasises to the need for a rapid transition to Open Science. Once abstracts are open for reuse there are a wide variety of applications, for example: providing research access to the public such as Get The Research (remember most front line healthcare workers are excluded from research access) or for libraries to enrich their own repositories as with the example of Finish Libraries (annif) automating indexing content based on titles and abstracts of articles.

Carrying out systematic reviews of literature is a good COVID-19 example application of open abstracts:

An example is the screening of the CORD-19 dataset of COVID-19 related articles using the ASReview tool. However, the fact that abstracts are missing for 22% of the articles in the full CORD-19 dataset, and even for 36% of the CORD-19 articles from 2020, limits the use of the dataset.

Why openly available abstracts are important — overview of the current state of affairs

Article contributors include: Aaron Tay @aarontay (SMU Libraries, Singapore Management University), Bianca Kramer @MsPhelps (Utrecht University Library), and Ludo Waltman @LudoWaltman (Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University).