Select Page

…and other research too.

I have a working first release of a plugin to link to research in a ScienceSeeker friendly way in a WordPress blog. It will only work with self-hosted WordPress installs, it will not work on WordPress.com blogs.

The way it works is you enter the ID(s) of the thing(s) you want to include then, when you save the draft, the website produces a formatted citation that it will automatically append to the content of your post. It will also add a META tag to the head of the page. This will give a way to tell sites like altmetric.com what paper(s) your blog post is about.

Editing in WordPress

Editing Screen. Click to embiggen.

Citation output

The output. Click to largify.


It’s primarily built to work with DOIs, because that’s what we use most at AoB Blog. You can type in a DOI as 10.1093/aob/mct168 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mct168 and when the site saves it will get bulked out to the longer version. You can enter more than one entry, so sticking 10.1093/aob/mcp121, 10.1093/aob/mcs287, 10.1093/aob/mcq238 should work too.

Once the reference is parsed, it appears as a citation. When you have this citation, you can edit it in this box. You might need to do that if the parsing breaks. It’s possible some DOIs will give information in a different way to most. Currently the plugin works with standard DOIs and figshare‘s DOIs. It’s very possible there are some other sites that have their own standards so, if you find one, let me know.

To clear the references and citations on a post, delete all the references and save. The plugin will wipe the citation box.

You can add arXiv references. I’ve set it so you copy and paste a URL from arXiv to the box to give http://arxiv.org/abs/1306.5148. If there’s demand it should be possible to send any nine character reference with a dot in the middle to the arXiv module. I’ve spotted a bug in the arXiv module putting together the screen shotes (look at the author name). I think I’ve fixed this.

It’s not so good for the Social Sciences and Humanities. Here monographs are still important research outputs, which means ISBNs. These are more of a problem. You enter them as a straight run of ten or thirteen characters. The only place I’ve found giving information from ISBNs in a friendly format is Google Books. But from here I can only get Title, Authors and Publisher. I cannot get Publisher Location from the data.

For DOIs and arXiv papers it’s obvious to link through to the paper. Books tend not to have a recognisable home page. I’ve linked through to Google Books because that’s where the data comes from. But it’s possible that LibraryThing or the Amazons would be better places to link to.

This system doesn’t handle book chapters yet, unless they have a DOI. Lying in bed I thought it could be handled as Chapter Authors::Chapter Title::Page Start::Page End::ISBN and anything with a double colon gets passed to a book chapter module for formatting. I’m not sure if this is useful, or if it’s getting to stage where typing the reference in is more effort than it’s worth.

At the moment the link is on the identifier, because that’s the way Research Blogging and ScienceSeeker work. Alan Cann has suggested making the whole reference clickable. I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not. It’s a bigger clickable target, and CSS styling makes the presentation a matter for whoever’s site it is.

The plugin doesn’t work for Research Blogging yet. Research Blogging needs references associated with a subject. The first way I’d written this meant that subjects would have to be hardwired in. Now I think it should be possible to tweak the plugin to add Research Blogging topics on a post-by-post basis, but not (yet) on a citation-by-citation basis. This would work for most people citing just one paper in Research Blogging posts, but some people cite multiple papers in one post. The way I’m thinking would label all citations in one post as being the same topic.

Finally, like me, it doesn’t fail gracefully. I’ve spent quite a while getting the damn thing to work. Deliberately breaking it, so I can make it fail nicely, hasn’t enthused me yet.

You can download it from my Dropbox at https://www.dropbox.com/s/kb0w02jr34agr2v/researchlinks.zip. You install it by going to your plugin menu and uploading the zip file. You make sure you upload it to your test site, because this is still beta software. I think this will be compatible with the final version, but I’m not willing to guarantee. If you have installed the previous version, this version is utterly incompatible and using the two at the same time will break access to your blog in a very emphatic way. This is why I test on a desktop server.

I’ll be testing this shortly, in particular the way it handles COinS. There may be a simple and elegant way of adding COinS to references, but I don’t know what it is.