Integration with data from scite to help make sure scientific references are reliable (scite Reference Check)

My name is Josh Nicholson and I am the co-founder and CEO of scite ( scite is a new platform introducing “Smart Citations” – citations that allow users to see how a research paper has been cited by providing the context of the citation and a classification describing whether it provides supporting or disputing evidence for the cited claim.

We’ve recently had interest from a variety of journals on OJS to add our Reference Check (How to make sure your references are reliable - YouTube) to their submission workflow. We are currently integrated with Manuscript Manager and will be integrated with Editorial Manager (Aries) and another large submission system in early 2021. We would like to build a plugin or somehow add this functionality to OJS.

More details about our API can be found here: Scite Reference Check API · GitHub

Any guidance on how we can best approach an integration would be greatly appreciated.

Additionally, we have made our smart citation badges freely available to publishers and others and would be happy to have this information used in OJS if publishers wish but perhaps journals can do that on their own? (scite Badge Documentation)

Tagging @NateWr as requested on Twitter.

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It would be really interesting to have both plugins available for OJS users.

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Hi @Josh_Nicholson,

Looks like a cool service! We’d love to have a plugin for OJS that helps journals plug into scite. Although we often undertake integrations ourselves for emerging global standards in scholarly publishing (ORCID, RoR, CRediT, JATS), we typically expect third-party vendors to build and maintain integrations themselves (or provide the funds to do so through what we sometimes call “sponsored development”).

I’m happy to help facilitate that either way. Did you already have an idea of how you see the integration working? Is this something the journals want to check before sending something for review? Or is it more of a pre-publication check? And would the integration pull in the data directly from your API and render it within OJS’s workflow? Or will editors, after triggering a check, be heading over to a report page on your site to get the details?

Thanks for the quick response, @NateWr!

We can probably support the development on our own but it’s great to know that you’re available to help along the way, if necessary.

Ideally, this is something journals can add to their existing workflow at the time of review, so that authors, editors, and peer reviewers can all simply click a link within OJS to view the scite Reference Check report on scite (like this: SARS-CoV-2 RNA reverse-transcribed and integrated into the human genome - [reference check]).

Ok, so it sounds like you need an editorial user to kick off the request to generate a scite report, and then store the URL to the report for others to view.

I’d recommend a plugin that adds an action to the submission files grid in the SUBMISSION_FILE_REVIEW_FILE stage. This will allow an editor to click a button to send a file to scite. When a report exists, you can also add an action to view the report.

Our docxConverter plugin will be a good example to look at. It adds a button to convert a docx file to JATS XML. (The button sends a request to a handler when clicked.)

You’ll want to read our plugin guide and this would be a generic plugin. (Read the Getting Started section of our main docs to get OJS up-and-running locally.)

That will take care of the editors and reviewers, who both have access to the the Review Files. However, the author does not have access to the Review Files in our system. In order to share the report with authors, you will need to add an additional UI element to the author dashboard.

Depending on the amount of effort you want to put in, you may want to skip this. An editor can always open a discussion with an author and share the report URL if there are any problems to be raised. (The same is true for sharing with reviewers, if you think that the citation report will only raise questions occassionally.)

One last hiccup that you’ll want to investigate is what version of OJS you need to support. We have journals on a wide range of versions. Depending on your timeline, you could just target 3.3, our next major release scheduled for January (we just put out our Release Candidate). But even after release it may be a while before journals update, so you may also want to target 3.2.x. The bad news is that submission files underwent a pretty big refactor in 3.3, so there may be some differences in how they work. But from 3.3 on it should be much easier to add data (like the report URL) to a submission file using our new schema system.

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