Digital Publishing Steps Beyond the PDF [Link]

by Jessica Lu on July 20, 2012

Open Access journals in other disciplines are starting to provide value-add services beyond static PDFs or cross-referencing with other papers. One such example discussed in the article below is a feature called figshare now being used in the F1000 OpenAccess journal in biology and medicine.

Figshare embeds not only a figure in the article, but also the associated data used to make the figure, even raw data sets. They highlight that all “figures” are citable, sharable, and discoverable. Each object has its own DOI and is cross-linked from the PDF to the figshare repository and back again.

Is this the way of the future for Astronomy journals as well?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aleks July 20, 2012 at 6:39 am

By the way, there are currently only about 20 astronomy “publications” on figshare, by approximately 5 authors (three of them have beet at dotastro 4). Which means it is still very easy to feel like a pioneer there.


2 Martin Durant July 20, 2012 at 9:17 am

We are starting a project to do such a thing on a volunteer basis: FITS files displayed in figures in papers can be uploaded here for others to search through and download. It is natural that the processed data that goes into a journal image should be available to the community.


3 Aleks July 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Martin, that looks interesting, but from the website it’s kind of difficult to see how it works exactly. Is the idea to provide a link in the journal paper that leads to the FITS files? If yes, it’s similar to the Dataverse at CfA ( and certainly in the right direction, but still a very long way from the directly embedded data shown in the F1000/figshare publications.


4 Martin Durant July 22, 2012 at 9:44 am

Ha, and I couldn’t figure out how Dataverse works! 😉

Our idea is to have access to the FITS files, processed and with WCS, which are shown in papers. There is no need for the papers to refer to the database, but it would be nice. Simply, our database stores the files, indicating which paper they appeared in, and any other details the uploader chooses to share. We haven’t yet made the front page which would explain this in a rigorous way.

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