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Knowledge Futures Group builds infrastructure for a more effective, equitable, and sustainable knowledge economy.

 

Knowledge Futures Group is an independent nonprofit organization powered by academic, industry, and advocacy groups. Together we build and support products and protocols to make knowledge open and accessible to all.

Founded in 2018 as a partnership between the MIT Press and the MIT Media Lab, Knowledge Futures Group was created to build sustainable tools and technologies for libraries, presses, museums, activist organizations, researchers, and others whose knowledge work seeks to serve collective understanding and the public. What began as a handful of grad students working on publishing tools grew to an organization focused on addressing the systemic challenges faced by public-oriented groups beholden to infrastructure that is designed with misaligned incentives and unjust power dynamics.

In September 2019 we formally organized as an independent 501c3 nonprofit. Today, we are committed to building a full-stack of technology protocols and products that demonstrate an effective, equitable, and sustainable knowledge economy is possible. We work with partners to design for interoperability and to catalyze a distributed ecosystem of development.

How to start your own preprint review community on PubPub · PubPub Help

“Since we launched the Connections feature last year, we’ve been thrilled to see communities on PubPub using it for everything from supplementary material to editorial commentary and beyond. One of the most exciting uses of the feature has been publishing reviews of preprints, most prominently demonstrated by the MIT Press’s groundbreaking Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 (RR:C19) journal, published in collaboration with UC Berkeley.undefined

We’re particularly excited about this use-case because we think the “Publish, Review, Curate”undefined models being pioneered by Rapid Reviews and other innovative groups like PREReview, Peer Community In…, Review Commons, and eLife’s Sciety could fundamentally change scientific publishing — making it more open, more transparent, more efficient, and, crucially, more equitable by recognizing evaluation as an essential part of scientific careers.

The community is still working on the processes, workflows, standards, and values that will support this emergent form of publishing. But that shouldn’t stop anyone who wants to explore these models from starting now.

With PubPub, anyone can publish and distribute meaningful, impactful reviews with appropriate metadata that can be picked up by aggregators in about an hour — at no cost and with no technical expertise required….”

Editorial Manager, PubPub · KFG Notes

“The Knowledge Futures Group is hiring an Editorial Manager to help curate and produce content for two of its products, PubPub1, a collaborative and open publishing tool for the academic web, and Commonplace, a new publication of the KFG. We’re looking for someone with strong writing and editorial skills, knowledge of academic publishing, and interest in experimenting with new publishing practices. You’ll get to work directly with authors and editors, and use those experiences to experiment and contribute to the KFG’s editorial plans and PubPub’s roadmap. We will pay you competitively, let you work from wherever you want, and take you and your ideas seriously. Join us!…”

Editorial Manager, PubPub · KFG Notes

“The Knowledge Futures Group is hiring an Editorial Manager to help curate and produce content for two of its products, PubPub1, a collaborative and open publishing tool for the academic web, and Commonplace, a new publication of the KFG. We’re looking for someone with strong writing and editorial skills, knowledge of academic publishing, and interest in experimenting with new publishing practices. You’ll get to work directly with authors and editors, and use those experiences to experiment and contribute to the KFG’s editorial plans and PubPub’s roadmap. We will pay you competitively, let you work from wherever you want, and take you and your ideas seriously. Join us!…”

New MIT Press Journal to Debunk Bad COVID-19 Research

“Preprint servers play an increasingly important role in the scholarly publishing landscape. They are a popular platform for researchers to get early feedback on their research. They are also a space where researchers can publish research products and data sets not typically published in traditional journals. The process is fast — publication of open-access research that anyone can read is immediate.

The downside of this open publication system is that sometimes controversial or poor-quality research can garner a lot of attention on social media or in news articles, said Stefano Bertozzi, professor of health policy and management at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health. In the clamor for information about COVID-19, it is easy for misinformation to spread online, he said.

To combat this, MIT Press and the Berkeley School of Public Health are launching a new COVID-19 journal, one that will peer review preprint articles getting a lot of attention — elevating the good research and debunking the bad.

The Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 journal will be led by Bertozzi, who will serve as the first editor in chief. Unlike a traditional journal, authors will not submit their work for review. Instead, the Rapid Reviews team will select and review already-published preprint articles — a publishing model known as an overlay journal.   …”

The MIT Press and UC Berkeley launch Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 · Rapid Reviews COVID-19

“The MIT Press announced today the launch of Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 (RR:C19), an open access, rapid-review overlay journal that will accelerate peer review of COVID-19-related research and deliver real-time, verified scientific information that policymakers and health leaders can use….

Using artificial intelligence tools, a global team will identify promising scholarship in preprint repositories, commission expert peer reviews, and publish the results on an open access platform in a completely transparent process. The journal will strive for disciplinary and geographic breadth, sourcing manuscripts from all regions and across a wide variety of fields, including medicine; public health; the physical, biological, and chemical sciences; the social sciences; and the humanities. RR:C19 will also provide a new publishing option for revised papers that are positively reviewed….”

The Case for an Institutionally Owned Knowledge Infrastructure

“Academic journals, the dominant dissemination platforms of scientific knowledge, have not been able to take advantage of the linking, transparency, dynamic communication and decentralized authority and review that the internet enables. Many other knowledge-driven sectors, from journalism to law, suffer from a similar bottleneck — caused not by a lack of technological capacity, but rather by an inability to design and implement efficient, open and trustworthy mechanisms of information dissemination.

Fortunately, growing dissatisfaction with current knowledge-sharing infrastructures has led to a more nuanced understanding of the requisite features that such platforms must provide. With such an understanding, higher education institutions around the world can begin to recapture the control and increase the utility of the knowledge they produce….

But signs suggest that the bright future envisioned in the early days of the internet is still within reach. Increasing awareness of, and dissatisfaction with, the many bottlenecks that the commercial monopoly on research information has imposed are stimulating new strategies for developing the future’s knowledge infrastructures. One of the most promising is the shift toward infrastructures created and supported by academic institutions, the original creators of the information being shared, and nonprofit consortia like the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation and the Center for Open Science….

The Case for an Institutionally Owned Knowledge Infrastructure

“Academic journals, the dominant dissemination platforms of scientific knowledge, have not been able to take advantage of the linking, transparency, dynamic communication and decentralized authority and review that the internet enables. Many other knowledge-driven sectors, from journalism to law, suffer from a similar bottleneck — caused not by a lack of technological capacity, but rather by an inability to design and implement efficient, open and trustworthy mechanisms of information dissemination.

Fortunately, growing dissatisfaction with current knowledge-sharing infrastructures has led to a more nuanced understanding of the requisite features that such platforms must provide. With such an understanding, higher education institutions around the world can begin to recapture the control and increase the utility of the knowledge they produce….

But signs suggest that the bright future envisioned in the early days of the internet is still within reach. Increasing awareness of, and dissatisfaction with, the many bottlenecks that the commercial monopoly on research information has imposed are stimulating new strategies for developing the future’s knowledge infrastructures. One of the most promising is the shift toward infrastructures created and supported by academic institutions, the original creators of the information being shared, and nonprofit consortia like the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation and the Center for Open Science….

Knowledge Futures Group

“The Knowledge Futures Group is a non-profit technology organization where promising new projects nurtured at knowledge institutions get built to scale and compete with proprietary alternatives.

Founded at MIT, directed by educators, publishers, and technologists, and supported by a consortium of funders and partners, the KFG brings the intelligence and experience of knowledge institutions together with the product development speed and capacity of technology companies.

We build better futures….”

Knowledge Futures Group: An interview with Amy Brand, Director of the MIT Press – The Scholarly Kitchen

The MIT Knowledge Futures Group is a new joint venture of the MIT Press and the MIT Media Lab. Its ultimate goal is to help build a more sustainable scholarly publishing ecosystem. As we grow — adding resources, new staff and now new advisors — we’re looking to accelerate the path from research breakthrough to application and societal benefit, developing tools that enrich and fortify our knowledge infrastructure. At the same time, we’re trying to galvanize a real movement towards greater institutional and public investment in that infrastructure, by serving as a model for it and partnering actively with aligned initiatives. It’s worth pointing out that MIT has a strong track record in homegrown knowledge infrastructure. It is, after all, the birthplace of Dspace and Open Courseware….”

The Monograph Is Broken. Long Live the Monograph. – The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Despite the steadfast nature of this trust dynamic in publishing, scholarly-book publishing has been in a self-professed state of crisis for at least the past quarter century, even as the number of scholarly books published increases each year. This crisis is rooted in the desire of — and necessity for — scholars to publish monographs at a time when sales of such books continue to dwindle. These conflicting pressures are exacerbated by other changes, such as the growth of digital publishing and open access….

So what do we need to do to get this digital transition right?

Acknowledge that scholarly engagement with monographs varies from discipline to discipline and that this might warrant changes in some areas that aren’t appropriate for others.

Don’t focus on print sales but on usage and on what that usage enables. This applies to authors, tenure committees, and publishers alike.

Get all backlist titles online, and not just as e-books but in as many forms as possible.

Beware the fetishizing of print. We know, we know, that this is a grim imperative to the book-lover’s ear. We love books too (we’re publishers after all). But a monograph’s jacket and price often say more about the funding of a publisher than about the quality of or audience for a given book.

Devote more resources to digital: tagging, metadata, indexing, citation, etc. We need to establish new standards to improve discoverability and track usage.

Embrace new ways of promoting scholarship, such as organic (e.g., nonpaid) search-engine optimization.

Support — via participation and sponsorship — innovative experiments, such as:

  • The University of North Carolina Press’s Sustainable History Monograph Pilot, working to establish acceptance of a new publishing model for specialized scholarship.
  • The University of Michigan Press’s Fulcrum and the University of Minnesota Press’s Manifold, open-source platforms, which offer authors the opportunity to create interactive monographs.
  • MIT Press’s PubPub, a hosting platform for the multimedia-enhanced publishing needs of journals, books, labs, and conferences.
  • The University of British Columbia Press’s and the University of Washington Press’s RavenSpace, a collaborative site for indigenous-studies publishing.

For scholarship that adds value primarily to the more esoteric realms of the academic corpus and that increasingly may not be seen as a reliable investment for publishers (even university presses), we need new models, including “pay to publish.”  …”

The Good Drone: How Social Movements Democratize Surveillance

“This is the Pubpub site for The Good Drone: How Social Movements Democratize Surveillance by Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick. It was used for open peer review through May 1, 2019….

Data should be open. The source data that represents the evidenciary basis for this book is freely available from the library of one of my home institutions. 

Knowledge should be free. Upon publication, this book will be available in traditional forms (physical book and e-copy), but it will also be a free, downloadable, open access PDF. Open Access is about democratizing dissemination.

Free knowledge should be well-informed. This project has been through peer review @MITPress, and has benefitted from input from dozens of other readers. Open Peer Review is an opportunity to hear from an even broader range of voices. In other words, Open Peer Review goes some way toward democratizing knowledge production….

I am considering launching a “living version” of this book after it is published in fixed physical and digital form (as bound book or static PDF). What would happen if subsequent technological developments, theoretical insights, random heckling, and informed critique could be concentrated around the body of the text itself? What if the online version of the manuscript is opened to user contributions of video, datasets, supporting and contradicting evidence, Github links, source-files for 3D printed drones, and the like.

What does the future of publishing look like? I’m not sure, but am happy to be part of an experiment along the way….”

The MIT Press and the MIT Media Lab Launch the Knowledge Futures Group | The MIT Press

“The MIT Press announced today the launch of the Knowledge Futures Group (KFG), a first-of-its kind collaboration between a leading publisher and a world-class academic lab to transform how research information is created and shared.

This joint initiative of the MIT Press and the MIT Media Lab seeks to redefine research publishing from a closed, sequential process, into an open, community-driven one. The goal is to develop and deploy technologies that form part of a new open knowledge ecosystem, one that fully exploits the capabilities of the Web to accelerate discovery and the transmission of knowledge.

The effort has thus far received $1.5 million for its initial year of operation, through the generous support of Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and a member of the MIT Media Lab’s Advisory Council; smaller project-specific gifts from Siegel Family Endowment, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and Protocol Labs; and several individual donors….”