Despite a wide range of technical and social transformation, scholarly communication has remained largely unchanged. Subscription journals still mimic the paper format they are descended from and movements pushing Open Science, reproducibility and alternative metrics have so far attained only limited traction.
The blame for this slow pace of change is often put on incentive structures or, even more broadly, the slow “cultural change”, but that does not dismiss us from the task to try to dissect what is going on exactly and to overcome the stagnation.
So, in parallel with the many interesting initiatives that are evolving to challenge the status quo (such as new journal models that publish negative results or use open peer review, and platforms that share pre-published work), we have been trying to express the scope and characteristics of a ‘scholarly commons’ that addresses not a single issue or part of the research communications process, but provides a set of principles for the whole system, and to which the community of researchers and other stakeholders ascribe.
In practical terms, the scholarly commons idea is the result of a programme coordinated by Force11 through its Scholarly Commons Working Group that started work in October 2015 after receiving a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Biomedical Research Infrastructure Program. The idea of the scholarly commons is accompanied by the launch of the scholarly commons website that we are positioning to inspire, connect and discuss the many initiatives out there. The scholarly commons working group also started to discuss inclusivity perspectives that should continuously inspire these principles and started providing guidelines in the form of decision trees that help putting the principles into practice.
Our activities are guided by a weekly teleconference. In the closing stages of the Helmsley cycle we have divided our attention amongst three Working Groups - Principles, Inclusivity and Decision Trees, each of which has specific objectives for deliverables by the middle of 2017.
Future and past events
- 2017 - December - During a webinar on December 8, 2017 of which the video and slides are available in the Zenodo community of the scholarly commons.
- 2017 - October - We have been discussing the Commons concept and website more widely at the Force2017 conference in October 2017 in Berlin, Germany