Just in case you aren’t already aware of this, the 2019 mapping exercise that led to the Mind the Gap report might be a great starting point, see Maxwell, J. W., Hanson, E., Desai, L., Tiampo, C., O’Donnell, K., Ketheeswaran, A., … Michelle, E. (2019). Mapping the Landscape. In Mind the Gap: A Landscape Analysis of Open Source Publishing Tools and Platforms (1st ed.). https://doi.org/10.21428/6bc8b38c.2e2f6c3f
And focusing on open source experimental book publishing, COPIM’s Experimental Publishing Compendium might also be of interest here, see segment on https://www.copim.ac.uk/workpackage/wp6/ (more details to be published later this year)
Great paper! One comment is that during your taxonomy work, it might be useful to consider the significance (or not) of the process of peer review and acceptance on an article, and whether this impacts if something is truly considered ‘published’ or not - is it ‘posted’ instead? And by extension, are all those discussed therefore publishing platforms? Should this idea be included in the taxonomy? Can be a useful way to relay information about the role of the platform and status of an article.
Secondly - the Microbiology recently launched an open research platform by converting their sound science journal into the open research platform platform using their current technology stack. So this is both not-for-profit led and owned, but underpinned by more traditional/vendor technologies. So it shows it is possible for smaller orgs can ‘stitch’ together and create their own and don’t have to rely on bigger commercial platforms in the move to open science and innovation. Slightly different angle to the ones discussed in the paper. More info here: https://microbiologysociety.org/news/society-news/microbiology-society-launches-an-innovative-open-research-platform.html
A taxonomy (much more a typology) of publishing platforms seems to be very useful to share concepts, definitions, features. It would be useful to caracterize platforms by their owners (public or not), their location, their governance model, the objects that they handle (preprints, postprints, articles, books, research data, …) and their place in the research life cycle, their software, their functions, their process (depositing, reviewing, editing, publishing, disseminating), their interoperability or interconnections with other platforms or initiatives, their transparency, openness, etc. I think that some institutional or national (public) platforms shouldn’t be considered as so traditional as they have integrated in the recent years some innovative, useful and efficient features (I think to OJS with its plug-in for ORCID, Crossref, Dataverse, etc. implmented by many academic institutions)
I do indeed wonder with regards to ambiguities if ‘alternative’ is a very productive characteristic to work with here - as it quickly raises the question about “an alternative to what exactly”?
I don’t think legacy publishers constitute ‘platforms’ in themselves that one would seek to establish an alternative to - most legacy outlets I'm aware of simply provide paywalled PDF versions of articles on their websites (which hardly makes for an actual "publishing platform" that an alternative to would need to be sought), while a few also provide extended features - that then are suffering from the lock-in effect of paywalls.
So I'm thinking, would the alternative maybe manifest more in the format of presentation, i.e. open, often not-for-profit, born-digital, hybrid and multi-format publication platforms that go beyond the 'classic' PDF provision that legacy providers tend to provide?
Many thanks for your comments in the document.
This is a good point and indeed we consider these features on format of presentation as one aspect of ‘alternative’. But we think e.g., business models, the disintegration of publishing and innovative strategies to enhance and open the entire research cycle for publication should be taken along in this respect as well.
We acknowledge that it is probably not the most ideal term, but without having a better alternative (no pun intended) yet, we will start with this.
I get “publication bias”, but what do you mean with “incentive structures”? Is there a platform that explicitly aims to change “incentive structures”? If so, giving the example like in the previous bullets would help.
Just as a formal note, while MIT has been a home to PubPub during its early development phase, I believe the legal entity now maintaining PubPub is the membership organisation Knowledge Futures Group. https://www.pubpub.org/about
You are right. We will amend this and acknowledge KFG as hosting service properly (and MIT as early developer).
for open transparency’s sake, should this also include a note to point to F1000 being a Taylor & Francis venture? (see Martin Eve’s article cited above, and e.g. Page 2020).
This is already mentioned a few sentences earlier (heading Alternative Publishing Platforms).
Good suggestion to include developments with open books more explicitly. They would fit under the experimental platforms, but also national platforms (like we’ve been seeing with the development of Finland's open book platform). We will look at your suggestions and try to properly add references and information about the COPIM project and other related initiatives with open books and/or longer formats in the scoping paper.
oh, that’d be great, thanks so much, Jeroen!
Not sure if ‘stakeholder-governed’ is the best way to characterize these platforms?
Wouldn’t shareholders also be stakeholders in the context of commercial publishers?
Good point. It should be ‘academic stakeholder-governed’. We will change this in the next version of this scoping paper.
Would suggest to provide more information on that topic, including references to existing literature in the field, e.g. Barnes & Gatti, 2019 , Ferwerda & ScholarLed, 2020, and Adema & Moore, 2021.
Very good suggestions, we will add these references to a next version of the scoping paper.
Thanks so much for your work on this to the whole team involved in this KE initiative!
One conceptual question, if I may - in the opening paragraphs, you mention the breadth of different output channels and formats present in the scholcomm landscape, while the later paras then very much appear to narrow the scope of investigation towards what appears to be a journal-only focus … Is that the intention of this exercise, or would you see other kinds of platforms also falling under the remit of this scoping exercise?