OT Bibliography 2019 - review of publications using OpenTopography

Jan 28, 2020

As most OpenTopography users hopefully appreciate, primary support for OT comes from the U.S. National Science Foundation, and thus our primary emphasis is on facilitating access to topographic data oriented towards Earth science research. In the context of academic research, publications are the most important metric for measuring impact. In 2019 we enhanced how we track publications to better understand and communicate how the open and easy access to topography data provided by OT enables scholarly work.

The following summary was produced from a review of references to OpenTopography in the published literature using web-based searches of online journal databases. 2019 was the ten year anniversary of OpenTopography's founding, and as such this review of publications encompasses a decade of topographic data-related research.

Since 2009, OpenTopography data and compute services have enabled:

  • 386 peer-reviewed publications
  • 52 M.S. And Phd theses
  • 10 book sections
  • 30 reports

The entire OpenTopography bibliography can be seen here.


To view the 2019 publications that used OpenTopography-hosted data, click here

OT Pubs and ResourcesPublications since 2009.

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)

Publications using OpenTopography data are on an upward trend and follow similar increases in available data and registered users. One way that we identify publications utilizing OT data is through Digital Object Identifiers, or DOIs. A DOI is a unique alphanumeric string, assigned by a registration agency to identify digital content and provide a persistent link to its location. DOIs have become a standard for identifying, sharing, and tracking digital publications, documents, and data. OpenTopography issues a DOI for each dataset we host via the University of California’s Digital Libraries EZID program. When an OpenTopography dataset is utilized in a publication or other product, the dataset should be cited, and DOI should be included. This data citation allows readers to directly link back to the data products, metadata, and other information, and ensures that the original researchers, funding agencies, and other involved in the collection of the dataset receive appropriate credit. This practice is in keeping with FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) data principles championed by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Coalition for Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS) among others. For more information about how to cite datasets provided by OpenTopography, see our citation guidance page.

Publication Trends

Looking at peer-reviewed publications, a clear rising trend is evident since OpenTopography started. While the acknowledgement of OpenTopography as a resource has increased, the number of publications that mention and use a specific dataset has also increased steadily since 2009. With the launch of the OpenTopography Community Dataspace in late 2018, we've also seen a large increase in researchers published their data in OpenTopography before submission of a manuscript, in keeping with the movement towards FAIR data. As would be expected given our focus and funding, the dominant discipline that references OpenTopography in publications is the Earth and natural sciences, but the number of remote sensing and computer science (e.g., cyberinfrastructure, algorithm development) papers are also steadily increasing. In addition, OpenTopography is also cited as a resource for archaeology, urban planning and development, 3D game development, and 3D printing.

Pubs by Discipline Growth of OpenTopography publications per year by science discipline.


Pubs by Discipline Total OpenTopography publications by science discipline.



Starting in 2019, we're now tracking OpenTopography impact on academic research via a google scholar account which allows us to track citations and h-index. At the end of 2019, OpenTopography-related publications had been cited over 7000 times resulting in a h-index of 45. Cleary, OpenTopography continues to be a valuable asset to the Earth science community.


Pubs by Discipline OpenTopography citations as compiled by Google Scholar.


We are very excited to see these results but recognize that we may be missing some publications. If you’ve published research that utilized OpenTopography, please take a moment to review the OpenTopography Google Scholar page and make sure that we’ve included your work. If not please let us know and we will update our records.