Linked Bibliographic Data for Nature

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) produces leading scientific journal, Nature, and is part of the global Macmillan Publishing Group. The Group was keen to offer linked data to third parties and asked TSO to help implement this.

NPG needed a supplier to host its linked data, to provide confidence in a robust and reliable solution, and offer knowledge and support from an expert team throughout the project.

TSO’s hosted Resource Description Framework (RDF*) solution – OpenUp® offers:

  • a high level of support from a helpful, knowledgeable semantic team;
  • technical visits by both sides to build trust and understanding;

  • a proven and scalable Resource Description Framework (RDF*) hosting platform (5 Store from Garlik);

  • a simple, cost effective price structure which enables experimentation; and

  • easy to search article data.

What was needed? 

NPG aspires to encourage more organisations to use the content in their articles by making the bibliographic metadata available free of charge. This metadata is associated with the 450,000 articles published by the group since 1869. The dataset is substantial, and constitutes more than 20 million RDF triples or stored facts.

The stored information is grouped and structured so that it is well organised and easily managed. This structure is referred to as an ontology. This means that the data can develop and grow over time.

NPG’s press release explains: ‘In the first release, the datasets include basic citation information (title, author, publication date, etc) as well as NPG specific ontologies. The datasets were released under an open metadata license, Creative Commons Zeroopens in new window (CC0), which permits maximal use/re-use of this data.’

The ultimate aim is to make the metadata more useful and inspire the increased usage of NPG’s value added content by third parties.

What did TSO deliver?

TSO has provided help, working closely with NPG to reach the first phase of their linked data aspirations and deliver support, service and a cost efficient solution.

The OpenUp storage platform is fast, flexible and reliable and has proven perfect for NPG’s needs.

The platform enables the article content to be interrogated easily, so that useful information is surfaced by simple exploration. The data is straightforward to extract and reveals relationships about articles, contributors, publications and subject matter.

The project is leading to many practical benefits and has been recognised both within and outside NPG as a great success.

Head of Digital First Amanda Ward commented: 'We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with TSO as the hosting partner for NPG's Linked Data Platform and have benefited greatly from their expertise in this area.  Linked data is an important step in the evolution of scientific publishing and the launch of the platform has been met with a positive response from the scientific community. We are looking forward to continuing to work with TSO as we further enhance the Linked Data Platform.'

In addition, the launch created favourable publicity. Sir Tim Berners-Lee (founder of the World Wide Web) tweeted about it, the Open Knowledge Foundation posted a blog entry about it and the initiative was widely praised by developers and linked open data (LOD) advocates on Google+ and other forums.


*Linked data is stored in a format called Resource Description Framework (RDF), This is a family of World Wide Web Consortiumopens in new window (W3C) standards. You can read more here: in new window.