New digital texts shake up monograph publishing (opinion)

“Is A New Vision for Islamic Pasts and Futures—an interactive, open-access, born-digital monograph developed by Brown University Digital Publications and published in August by MIT Press—the monograph of the future? Asking readers to imagine Islam anew, as a vast web of interconnected traces seen through the prism of time, the book opens with a networked table of contents. Portals lead to different time periods across different parts of the world, inviting readers to explore Islam via a path of their choosing. In designing a one-of-a-kind trajectory that follows their own interests and queries, the reader, effectively, creates their own journey while traversing the world of ideas and evidence that has been curated by the author.

This groundbreaking interface, says author Shahzad Bashir, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities at Brown, “performs, rather than simply states, the book’s argument—namely, that we see pasts and futures as fields of unlimited possibility that come alive through a combination of close observation and ethical positioning.” …

In working together to produce and disseminate essential knowledge for broad audiences, Brown University Library and the MIT Press are also addressing issues of scalability and sustainability. A critical goal of the series is to mobilize knowledge creation and sharing. To this end, On Seeing will comprise a publication suite that includes a multiplicity of forms. The print book, providing a revenue stream to help offset costs, will be offered at a reasonable price and distributed globally in order to reach the widest possible readership. The enhanced, open-access digital publication will be developed using the open-source publishing platform PubPub, which introduces a less bespoke approach to interactive design and development….

We are seeing the payoff from these investments through the expansive reach and impact that this approach to digital publication, together with presses gravitating to open access….”

The Case for PubPub · Elephant in the Lab

“I want to make the case for PubPub, a flexible web-based platform hosted by a nonprofit, Knowledge Futures Group (KFG). The software is the brainchild of Travis Rich, who wrote his 2017 MIT dissertation on PubPub and then co-founded KFG, first within MIT and then as an independent nonprofit. The program he helped build is, in its way, a complete rethink of scholarly publishing—digital first, yes, but unconventional across the board. The design ingenuity is matched by a robust commitment to an academy-led publishing ecosystem. “In our vision of the future,” reads the group’s mission statement, “knowledge communities play a lead role in building and maintaining our knowledge systems, reclaiming territory that was ceded to proprietary solutions.” In a thousand small but important ways, PubPub is the nonprofit David to, say, the profit-hoarding, data-hoovering Goliath that is Elsevier’s ScienceDirect.Still, PubPub’s not for everyone, particularly if you’re wedded to the PDF, or prefer to roll your own server. But many of us want to dethrone the PDF, and for us the prospect of handing off server maintenance is more relief than limitation. It’s telling that the Simon Fraser team, when they set out to publish their report, selected PubPub….”

User Satisfaction Survey | PubPub

We’d like to understand who our users are, how they value PubPub, and and how we can better service publishing communities. If you can, please fill out the following survey. It should take less than 5 minutes to complete, and can be filled out anonymously, or you can leave your email address if you’d like us to follow up with you. Your individual survey responses will not be shared with anyone outside of Knowledge Futures, Inc. We may use non-personalized, aggregated survey data to publish public reports about our users and communities.

About Community Spotlights | PubPub Help

From January 1 to December 31, 2019, 615 new Communities were created on PubPub. The previous fall, in October 2018, we had made a pivotal change: we launched a public “Create your Community” button, enabling anyone at all to create a publishing space on the platform. The positive trend line of growth—and the Community experimentation and feedback that followed—is now what drives our roadmap, Community Services, and endless learning. Across 2020 and 2021, 2,601 additional new Communities joined PubPub. This June, someone out there created our 4,000th Community.

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The experiment begins: Arcadia publishing 1.0 · Reimagining scientific publishing

“Building on the open-source platform PubPub, we’re sharing the first iteration of our publishing website. In addition to posting our first set of research pubs, we’re documenting our progress in developing this new system for sharing science and hope you’ll provide feedback.

In thinking about how to share Arcadia’s research, we wanted to keep features of traditional publishing that have been honed over centuries, but improve upon what hasn’t quite adapted to the nature of modern science and technology. We have a unique opportunity to use our own research to develop mechanisms of sharing and quality control that can be more agile and adaptable. Our initial attempt is outlined here and we will continue to iterate upon it, always keeping the advancement of knowledge as our guiding principle when making decisions on what to try next.

This pub is intended to help you understand our thinking thus far, to provide a sense of what we’ve done and how the platform works, and to serve as a place to provide feedback on our strategy and the platform itself….”

The experiment begins: Arcadia publishing 1.0 · Reimagining scientific publishing

“In thinking about how to share Arcadia’s research, we wanted to keep features of traditional publishing that have been honed over centuries, but improve upon what hasn’t quite adapted to the nature of modern science and technology. We have a unique opportunity to use our own research to develop mechanisms of sharing and quality control that can be more agile and adaptable. Our initial attempt is outlined here and we will continue to iterate upon it, always keeping the advancement of knowledge as our guiding principle when making decisions on what to try next….

We are reimagining scientific publishing — sharing our work early and often, maximizing utility and reusability, and improving our science on the basis of public feedback.

This is our first draft. We have ambitious goals and we’re committed to replicable long-term solutions, but we also know that “perfection is the enemy of good.” We’re using this platform to release findings now rather than hiding them until we’ve gotten everything exactly how we want it. Readers can think of the pubs on this platform as drafts that will evolve over time, shaped by public feedback. The same goes for the platform itself! We’re treating our publishing project like an experiment — we’re not sure where we will land, but we can only learn if we try. In this pub, we’re sharing our strategy and the reasoning behind some of our key decisions, highlighting features we’re excited about and areas for improvement. …

Charting our Pathway to Sustainability | KFG Notes

Knowledge Futures Group is a non-profit technology organization that builds infrastructure for a more effective, equitable, and sustainable knowledge economy. We have two primary open-source products: PubPub for publishing documents and Underlay for producing datasets. Our work empowers communities with tools to publish knowledge and collaborate with their community members.

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Watch the Webinar ? · Open Knowledge Institutions : Reinventing Universities

Recently, Open Knowledge Institutions was published openly by the MIT Press. Uniquely, this title went through a radically collaborative and transparent publication process, from its original drafting through the facilitation of the Book Sprints team, to its open review period as the inaugural title in the MIT Press’s Works in Progress program, to its open publication both on PubPub and on MIT Press Direct.

Our webinar “An Open Process for Open Knowledge,” hosted virtually on September 8, 2021 sought to explore this process with those involved. We discussed the benefits of and considerations around engaging in such an open process and how this connects to the subject matter of the book itself. Below is a recording of the event.

Adema (2021) Versioning and Iterative Publishing | Commonplace

 Adema, J. (2021). Versioning and Iterative Publishing. Commonplace. https://doi.org/10.21428/6ffd8432.42408f5b

Change-logs or revision histories are increasingly integrated — both in the back and frontend — into platforms that accommodate collaborative and experimental forms of online academic writing in the humanities. A well-known feature from platforms such as Wikipedia and Github or Gitlab, additionally PubPub (the platform that hosts the Commonplace and is regularly used for humanities journal and book publishing) launched its Activity Dashboard recently, which provides a filterable log of changes made to a ‘pub’ or ‘collection.’ A version history remains available for readers to explore earlier releases, while a ‘pub history feature’ allows authors or communities the ability to return to or reinstall previous pub drafts.

Knowledge Futures Group has a new website

New website!

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.   …”