The Research Centre for Open Scholarly Metadata is an independent research centre within the University of Bologna, and it is hosted within the Department of Classical Philology and Italian Studies. It was formed on the 26th of November 2019.
The Research Center has the aim of gathering, managing, distributing and studying the complex domain of scholarly metadata, which involves indiscriminately all scholarly disciplines. In particular, the main activities of the Research Centre focus on:
- the use, improvement, and development of adequate models for the description of academic metadata through the use of appropriate technologies (such as ontologies);
- the publication of scholarly metadata on the Web in an open and unrestricted way, in accordance with descriptive models and through the use of sophisticated and decentralized platforms (based on the Linked Data paradigm);
- the support, creation and management of infrastructures dedicated to open scholarship that guarantee dynamic and granular access to scholarly metadata, so as to make them easily reusable by anyone (e.g. scholars) who may be interested in them for any reason;
- the study of academic metadata in a global landscape or in the context of a specific discipline (for example, Linguistics, Philology, Computer Science, Medicine, etc.);
- the organisation and participation in national and international events on scholarly metadata.
The Research Centre provides a formal administrative centre to manage the administrative and financial affairs of OpenCitations. OpenCitations is an independent infrastructure organisation for open scholarship dedicated to the publication of open bibliographic and citation data by the use of Semantic Web technologies. It also provides open source software and free services for use by the global academic community and the general public, and is engaged in advocacy for open citations and open scholarly metadata, particularly in its role as a key founding member of the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC).
The Research Centre also provides a formal academic setting within which University of Bologna graduate students can legitimately earn their degrees while working on projects related to OpenCitations. The statutes of the Research Centre ensure that OpenCitations’ original aim of free provision of open bibliographic and citation data, services and software is maintained, and that OpenCitations as an organisation cannot in future be taken over or controlled by commercial interests.
To this end, the Research Centre has an International Advisory Board for OpenCitations drawn from leaders within the main bibliographic stakeholder communities of relevance (librarians, bibliometricians, academics, data service providers, etc.) who have shown past solid commitment to open scholarship.