ISSN(L)s And Serial Title Abbreviations

I'd like to build a non-copyrighted list of journals/serials (anything with an ISSN, basically) - including their ISSNs, full titles and abbreviated titles.

As a start, every item needs an identifier. The ISSN International Centre assigns ISSNs to publications that request them, but the data file listing all the ISSN:serial title mappings is copyrighted, expensive and not redistributable (it also uses sentence case for journal titles, which means some information gets lost).

As each publication can have multiple ISSNs - one for each medium in which it is distributed (for example, the online version of a publication can have a different ISSN to the print version) - a pan-ISSN identifier is required to link all the ISSNs together, so the ISSN-L was introduced.

The table that maps ISSNs to ISSNLs can be downloaded from after filling in a form requesting access. In the latest table, there are 1,614,355 unique ISSNs, mapped to 1,552,542 unique ISSNLs.

This ISSNL:ISSN mapping table, like all the information published by the ISSN Internation Centre, is protected by sui generis database rights, which last, according to Wikipedia, for 15 years from the last substantial update.

The databases appearing on or accessible from the website "the ISSN International Centre" are the exclusive property of CIEPS and are protected under the provisions of the law of 1st July 1998 implementing in the Intellectual Property Code the European Directive of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases. Any performance, whether total or partial, of this site by any company whatsoever, without the express authorization of the CIEPS is strictly forbidden and shall constitute an infringement sanctioned such as Intellectual Property Code.
ISSN International Centre, Legal Notice, Section 3

(note, incidentally, that I'm already in conflict with section 3 of the legal notice: "Users and visitors cannot place a hyperlink to this website without the CIEPS' express and prior authorization."…)

The full database itself may be copyrighted, but (I believe) the individual facts within it shouldn't be. In which case, the best non-copyrighted source for the journal title, ISSN and ISSN-L of each serial is probably the publishers themselves, and as many publishers make their metadata through an OAI interface it may be possible to extract a fair amount of serials information from those sources. ScientificCommons, for example, harvests articles from OAI repositories, so may be able to aggregate useful title and ISSN information.

Existing, non-free sources

A commercial source of the information I'm looking to create is the JournalSeek database (from Genamics, licensed through OCLC) which includes around 100,000 journals.

SHERPA/RoMEO aggregates journal lists from Zetoc, DOAJ (7500 journals) and Entrez (40,000 journals), but the data is only available for non-commercial use.

Other sources of Journal/ISSN information

It would be nice if Freebase could serve as a central repository for this information, but there are only 4,321 journals in Freebase so far.


Once we have the list of ISSNs and journal titles, we also need the corresponding journal title abbreviations, for use when generating bibliographies. There are lists of journal title abbreviations available for import into EndNote. Sadly, there are several different abbreviation styles (ISO, MEDLINE, BIOSIS, CASSI, etc).

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