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Springer has now opened selected metadata from conference publications, heeding the European Commission’s call for promoting open data. The term Linked Open Data (LOD) refers to structured, machine-readable data, which more and more researchers and librarians are now using in their work. Springer belongs to the vanguard of LOD providers and has assumed a leading role among those publishers offering semantically searchable data. More details on the platform can be found at lod.springer.com, and an interactive graphic is available at lod.springer.com/live.

“By introducing this innovative service, Springer has considerably improved the visibility of its publications, authors and editors,” explains Markus Kaindl, LOD Project Manager at Springer. This conference metadata is also extremely valuable for other important clients. For example, Google Scholar uses the open data-links to optimize its citation rankings, allowing it to see where a paper was published. Conference organizers, national and institutional research agencies that award project funding, indexing services, and other conference data users also stand to profit from the LOD data. 

Conference proceedings volumes gather all papers presented at a given conference. Springer publishes about 1,200 volumes every year, which represents a significant percentage of all such works published in technical fields worldwide. In computer science and engineering, publication in the proceedings of top conferences is, in fact, often preferred over publication in academic journals.

The pilot project is a joint effort with the University of Mannheim in Germany (Data and Web Science Group) and Netwise. It currently involves open data on roughly 8,000 proceedings volumes from around 1,200 conference series, including Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS). The data can be downloaded free of charge, and is connected to the LOD Cloud via the DLBP ID. 

The pilot group is now working to expand its current list of cooperation partners, which will include the Vienna University of Technology, providing data about members of conference program committees and the PEERE project, which provides additional information on the peer-review processes employed at different conferences. The data currently available focuses chiefly on computer science, with other fields to follow.