Open Journal Publishing Systems
Scientific publishing is undergoing a transition from corporate-controlled, for-profit publishing to more open models. While “Open-Access”, is part of this, there are a number of considerations important in true “Open Publishing”:
- Free access to the public (who pays for most of the research via their taxes!)
- Free submission of articles by authors
- Open Data - where original data and analysis workflows are made public
- Creative Commons - otherwise known as Copyleft, where rights are retained by the author but the content is usable with attribution
- Transparency of the review process (with or without anonymity)
- Open software, standards and tools used in the publication process
This post will focus on item (6) from above. While the choice of software tools is rarely considered as part of the Open Publishing ecosystem, it is of key importance. The economics of publishing are highly dependent on software. Open-source software enables the creation of open journals. This post will be followed-up with some discussion in the frture about how Open Publishing systems can be structured with incentives aligned to the best interests of the progress of science.
Scientific publishing software usually involves a supported workflow with four main components:
- review and communication
- editing and formatting
It could be argued that other functions are also part of this workflow (raw data archiving for instance), but let’s just explore core functionality for the moment. Open-source publication systems are usually web-based and facilitate the workflow by guiding authors, reviewers and editors. The following is a table of all the currently supported open publishing systems I could find (please let me know if you find others).
|Open Journal Systems||Public Knowledge Project||used by PsychOpen Journals|
|ePublishing Toolkit||Python||Yes||Mostly offline tools|
|Ambra||PLOS||Java||MIT||Used to publish PLOS journals, mostly developed for internal use|
|Janeway||Birkbeck, University of London||Python||AGPL3||No||Modern and well documented|
|Coko xPub||Collaborative Knowledge Foundation||Node.js||MIT||Designed for web-based editing with PubSweet|
It’s an interesting list, with some new and some old software stacks evident. Over the next few months I will try installing some of these packages. The ones that have stood out so far are:
- Janeway - very well documented
- Coko xPub - seems to integrate commenting with https://hypothes.is which is nice
- Open Journal Systems - looks like the most widely deployed of the above
I’d like to try Ambra but it looks poorly documented and probably too heavy for a test install. The other platforms all seem a bit specialised. I’d love to see an RMarkdown based journal workflow, who knows, one of the above may be extensible to that format, that’s the best thing about open-source!
Some extensions on basic features
In the future, review systems will allow in-place web editing. This is somewhat new and only a few platforms have emerged. Eventually they will need better integration into publishing platforms:
In addition to commenting, it is likely that the review cycle will become more fine-grained and peer-sourced.
- Radical Open Access - OA Publishing Tools List
- Directory of Open Access Journals
- Beall’s List of Predatory Journals
- How to Start an Open Access Journal - PDF - Hybrid Publihsing Lab at the Centre for Digital Cultures, Leuphana University Lüneburg