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Explore the OSA Optics and Photonics Topics

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OSA Optics and Photonics Topics

How and why were the OSA Optics and Photonics Topics created?

OSA Publishing developed the Optics and Photonics Topics to help organize its diverse content more accurately by topic area. The thesaurus of topics was created with an outside consultant, Access Innovations, in coordination with OSA staff and volunteer subject-matter experts, and the thesaurus will grow and change in response to input from the community with a focus on capturing and applying new terms in important, emerging areas. The thesaurus uses current best practices (such as the SKOS standard) to ensure ease of use and interoperability with indexing software.

How many OSA Topics are there, and how are they organized?

Our first version of the OSA Topics contains 2,412 terms with more than 5,000 synonyms and variants. Terms are organized into an eight-level hierarchy, and the top level is based on the current OSA Technical Divisions. Our aim is not to collect as many terms as possible but rather to identify and refine an optimal number of terms best suited for classification and indexing.

How are the Topics applied to articles?

To ensure that we can apply a uniform and flexible indexing approach across OSA's 100-year database of articles, we employ classification software provided by Expert System. OSA Topics are assigned to articles with relevance weightings, and OSA will generally use the six highest-scoring terms for indexing in the OSA Publishing search engine. Because OSA has converted its entire journal backfile to XML markup, the software is able to use the rich structural information in the converted articles to apply its algorithms. "Training" the software to use OSA's thesaurus effectively will be an ongoing effort, and content will be reindexed as the thesaurus and the software tools evolve.

Can I add my own freeform keywords for indexing?

We are exploring the use of author-provided Freeform keywords may ultimately appear with the online article and provide a regular source for candidate terms to consider for the thesaurus.

Will the OSA Optics and Photonics Topics replace the OCIS codes?

The OSA Publishing search engine now uses the OSA Topics instead of OCIS codes. However, each of the OCIS codes has been retained in the Thesaurus as a preferred term or as an alternate. OSA is exploring phasing out use of the OCIS codes in manuscript submission and adopting more-effective methods to associate content and people with appropriate topical areas (for example, to improve selection of peer reviewers).

How can I use the OSA Topics now?

The OSA Optics and Photonics Topics are now in active use to initiate or refine a search within the OSA Publishing platform.

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