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Scholix is short for Scholarly Link Exchange. The goal of Scholix is to improve the links between scholarly literature and research data as well as between data and data.

Scholix is global in scope and is an initiative of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and the World Data System (WDS). It is supported by a number of partner organisations, including ARDC, with many people involved in its development.

Why do we need links between scholarly literature and data?

Links between scholarly literature and data enable a reader of a journal article to follow a link to the data that supports the findings of the data. Conversely, they enable a user of a dataset to find literature based on that dataset. These links significantly aid the scientific method by improving discovery of and access to related knowledge and underpinning observations. The benefits of links between scholarly literature and data include:

  • increased visibility, discovery and retrieval of both literature and data
  • facilitating reuse, reproducibility and transparency of research
  • enabling better attribution of credit for published data, providing an additional incentive for researchers to share their data.

While there are clear benefits to literature and data linking, in practice these links are difficult to find or share. The main reason for this is that there is no universal way of exchanging link information between databases and systems which hold this information. Instead, there are different agreements and technical frameworks for exchanging link information between the different partners and systems which hold this information. The Scholix initiative aims to address this problem. Its goal is to improve the links between scholarly literature and research data as well as between datasets, thereby making it easier to discover, interpret and reuse scholarly information.

How does Scholix work?

Scholix provides an overarching framework for existing technical initiatives that individually address parts of the overall problem that is hindering better linking between data and literature. It also provides a conceptual model and an information model.

Within the Scholix framework

  • Repositories, data centres, journals and others provide information about the links between literature and data that they hold to community 'hubs' such as OpenAire, Crossref and DataCite. This supports and respects existing community-specific practices and the existing means of exchanging this information.
  • The community 'hubs' - which are natural places to collect and exchange information about the links between literature and data - commit to a common information model for exchanging the links that they hold and an agreed open exchange method enables this to occur.

The Scholix model

The conceptual model is about the link between two objects, such as a journal article and the underpinning data. Rather than describing in detail the properties of each of the two objects, the conceptual model focuses on the relationship between the objects. It also enables a record of who asserted the link and who made the link available. The information model provides the detail of the conceptual model. It specifies what information is needed in what is called a Link Information Package. This includes what elements of the conceptual model are mandatory fields (publishing date and link publisher) and optional fields (various). Scholix does not mandate how to format and exchange a Link Information Package. Therefore information can be formatted and exchanged potentially using a variety of models and protocols such as JSON, XML or RDF formats and OAI-PMH, RESTful or SPARQL protocols. The application of encoding and semantic standards are pending and will be developed by the Scholarly Link Exchange Working Group under the auspices of RDA and ICSU-WDS. Further information on the Scholix metadata schema is available from the Scholix website.

Conceptual model

Who is implementing Scholix?

There are a number of natural community hubs which offer a Scholix compliant interface:

ARDC has implemented an OAI-PMH endpoint to make available information about Research Data Australia collection records and links to publications (Link Information Packages) for harvesting by others, including Scholexplorer: the Data Literature Interlinking Service. For more information see: RIF-CS to Scholix crosswalk.

How do Australian researchers benefit?

Australian researchers contributing to the Scholix initiative via Research Data Australia gain increased exposure, and potentially recognition, for their data and linked publications through third party services like Scopus. If you are a Research Data Australia contributor, more information on optimising your records for Scholix is available. See: Getting started with Scholix.

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