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Implementing file-based accessible workflows on PUBLISSO: impacts and development

Published onApr 17, 2024
Implementing file-based accessible workflows on PUBLISSO: impacts and development


This lightning talk, held at the Satellite Event “The Global Impact of Library Publishing” by IFLA's Special Interest Group on Library Publishing in Den Haag on 19th August 2023, aims to examine the publication platform PUBLISSO – Platform Gold with special regards to its impact(s) and current development processes. This is undertaken by evaluating page views and visits as well as the alignment to one of the UN Sustainable Developments (SDGs): How is the platform received and which steps are undertaken to improve its usability and reach?

PUBLISSO is part of the Open Science department at ZB MED, the Information Centre for Life Sciences including medicine, health care as well as nutritional, environmental and agricultural sciences. PUBLISSO offers publishing advice, research data management and digital preservation services, in addition to its publication endeavours on the publication platforms PUBLISSO – Platform Gold and the Repository for Life Sciences.

In 2003, the publication portal German Medical Science (GMS) was developed by the German Institute of Medical Documentation and Information (DIMDI) and run in cooperation with the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) and ZB MED. The GMS portal offers medical journal publications, conference abstracts and research reports. Due to the growing demand for a ‘living’ handbook feature, i.e., updateable and extendable book publications, PUBLISSO – Platform Gold was additionally developed in 2015 with the aim to offer all kinds of publications from one service provider. After an upcoming migration, this will include the GMS publications. While life science publications remain at the heart of PUBLISSO, projects such as the joint project “OAPEnz – Open Access Publication of Encyclopaedic Handbooks” with the publisher Verlag Barbara Budrich aim to improve Open Access publication services also in the humanities and social sciences.

For statistic evaluation, the GDPR compliant Open Access Web analytics platform Matomo is used. First, via the lens of visits and page views in the time frame from January 2022 to June 2023, ca. 2.500 visits per day and ca. 750 page views could be recorded. A peak in November 2022 was probably caused by increased accesses by students working with one of the Living Handbooks, the “Online Textbook of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology [Online Lehrbuch der Medizinischen Psychologie und Medizinischen Soziologie]”, emphasising that the Open Access textbook was well received.

Fig. 1: Visits of PUBLISSO – Platform Gold from January 2022 to June 2023 (with a peak in November 2022 highlighted) – created with Matomo

Fig. 2: Page views of publications on PUBLISSO – Platform Gold from January 2022 to June 2023 (with a peak in November 2022 highlighted) in Matomo

Secondly, PUBLISSO – as a part of ZB MED – contributes to SDG 3, Good Health and Well-Being, by making Open Access life science publications available to not only researchers but also the public and, generally, all interested parties.

These also include publications enriched with supplementary material. For example, in the case of the “Living Handbook of Hand Surgery”, an alphabetical register contains several different surgical techniques. In order to offer enhanced publications, research data can also be published in the Repository for Life Sciences and linked to the respective articles.

Fig. 3: Register of surgical techniques in the Living Handbook of Hand Surgery

Regarding the visitors worldwide from January 2022 to June 2023, the majority of accesses can be allocated to Germany and the United States. However, with few exceptions in Africa, South America and Asia, almost all other states could be reached by PUBLISSO – Platform Gold. This contributes to the aim of making good health and well-being available to all – by disseminating as much peer-reviewed knowledge about it as possible.

Fig. 4: Visitors worldwide on PUBLISSO – Platform Gold from January 2022 to June 2023 in Matomo

Lastly, one peak into the development of a second publishing workflow is undertaken to show current efforts to adapt to the needs of the researchers and, at the same time, increase the impact of the platform.

PUBLISSO – Platform Gold is based on the Content Management Software Drupal and can be adapted to specific publication needs. By now, researchers and editorial staff have submitted their metadata and manuscripts by entering them into an HTML editor. In order to accommodate to the needs of researchers and the widespread use of Microsoft Word, a second workflow based on XML is currently being implemented and tested in the projects “The MAK Collection for Occupational Health and Safety” (“MAK Collection”) and “OAPEnz”. In this workflow, the metadata and manuscript are entered into a Word template and are then, together with any image and reference files, transformed into XML with the help of a Saxon parser. Afterwards, this XML is transformed via Apache-FOP to accessible PDF. The layout has been adapted to the needs of the projects, respectively.

Fig. 5: XML-based workflow in the project "The MAK Collection for Occupational Health and Safety", published by the German Research Foundation [Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft] on PUBLISSO

For the XML, the highly recognized and customizable standards by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) are used, consisting of the Journal Article Tagging Set (JATS) for journal articles and the extension Book Interchange Tagging Set (BITS) for books. These standards are also adapted to the needs of the project. For example, since the “MAK Collection” consists of chemical publications, a specific keyword schema has been implemented. Eventually, researchers will have the choice of how to upload their publications – PUBLISSO will accompany them all the way, increasing knowledge of good health and well-being two workflows at a time.

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