OOIR lists the latest articles from leading social science journals with the following aims:
1. Research Discovery: Help scholars stay up-to-date with the latest research;
2. Research Waste Reduction: Pluralize the disciplines by directing attention to articles which may otherwise be overlooked;
3. Scholarly Communication: Make the frontiers of social science scholarship discoverable to a general public by enhancing the flow of scholarly information.
With millions of scientific papers published in tens of thousands of academic journals each year, the discovery of relevant research outputs cannot be but a flawed process. Facing cognitive finiteness and time limitations, the exploration of the latest findings is biased towards a handful of so-called top journals. Findings in lesser-known outlets are overlooked, and interdisciplinarity is discouraged, which gives rise to a culture of research waste.
OOIR seeks to mitigate some of the problems arising from this science overload. The simple task of aggregating the latest papers from selected domains aims at rendering research discovery more efficient.
The selection of journals is based on Web of Science's Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) which comprises the world's leading peer-reviewed journals in the social sciences. The seven disciplines covered by OOIR contain 777 journals, albeit we are only able to track 664 of them because the other 113 do not deposit relevant metadata to CrossRef – these are either journals from smaller publishers or non-peer-reviewed outlets (such as law reviews, as is visible in the list of journals in the category Law).
OOIR retrieves metadata on scholarly articles (publication dates, titles, outlets, DOIs) via CrossRef. In addition, with the help of Altmetric, OOIR fetches data about the attention these papers obtain in non-scholarly channels (see the sections "Trending Papers" and "Neglected Papers").
There is a known error: In some instances, papers may appear as newly published even though they have been around for a couple of months – this can skew the Trending Papers section since such works tend to have higher Altmetric Attention Scores. This error can be traced back to the multiplicity of publication dates a paper can have in their metadata (online-publication, print-publication, date of indexing, date on which the paper was deposited to CrossRef etc.). I hope to find a solution soon.
The current version of OOIR went online on 1. November 2018. OOIR does not link to papers published before that date.
(The previous version which only covered Political Science and International Relations, and which was based on the journals' RSS feeds rather than on CrossRef's metadata, went online in mid-2018, but is not available anymore.)
When I first created OOIR, I called it 'The Observatory of International Relations' because I initially planned to have it confined to my subfield of interest, International Relations (IR). I soon expanded it to Political Science in general. However, finding that Political Science cannot be done without a meaningful interdisciplinary dialogue, OOIR expanded once again and now covers various domains of social sciences – Political Science (which includes IR), Sociology, Law, History, Geography, Communication, and Area Studies. Let's say that OOIR stands for 'The Observatory of International Research', then.