I had the good fortune to attend the Datacite Annual Conference this year about giving value to data. Thomson Reuters presented their new Data Citation Index that I had previously explored only cursorily for my ESA annual meeting ignite presentation on data citations. However, after the presentation by Thomson Reuters and the Q&A, I realized that a truly profound moment is upon us - the opportunity to FULLY & independently give value to data within the current framework of merit recognition (i.e. I love altmetrics and we need them too, but we can make a huge change right now with a few simple steps).
The following attributes of the process are what you need to know to fully appreciate the value of the new index: the data citation index is partnering with Datacite to ensure that they capture citations to datasets in repositories with doi’s, citations from papers to datasets are weighted equally to paper-paper citations, and (in the partnership with Datacite) citations from one dataset to another dataset will also be captured and weighted equally. Unless I misunderstood the answers provided by Thomson Reuters, this is absolutely amazing.
Disclaimer: As I mentioned in my ignite presentation, citations are not everything and only one of many estimates of use/reuse. However, we can leverage and link citations to other measures and products to make a change now.
If we publish our data in repositories, with or without them being linked to papers, we can now provide the recognition needed to data as independent evidence products. Importantly, if you use other datasets to build your dataset such as a derived dataset for a synthesis activity such as a meta-analysis or if you aggregate data from other datasets, cite those data sources in your meta-data. The data citation index will capture these citations too. This will profoundly reshape the publication pipeline we are now stuck in and further fuel the open science movement.
Consequently, publish your datasets now (no excuses) and cite the data sources you used to build both your papers and your datasets. Open science and discovery await.