Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, February 08, 2008

OpenWetWare looks at publishing

Julius B. Lucks, Publishing on OpenWetWare, Programmable Cells blog, February 7, 2008.

The Steering Committee has been talking about developing an alternative publishing system/model through openwetware. I wish I could give a more concrete definition of what we are trying to achieve, but we are still in a pretty active debate and nothing clear has emerged.

My personal opinion about it, is that the first thing to do is for OWW to build a publishing community by creating a free, open-access, moderated system to publish Synthetic Biology papers. These papers would not have to be strictly the same as traditional peer-reviewed papers, and could include descriptions of protocols, part characterizations/designs, etc. In addition these papers could use OWW url’s as citations, thus establishing a legitimate credit system for OWW contributions. Both of these are a little hard to achieve with current publishers, hence the need for our own channel. We would only start with synthetic biology because it is a small, young and vibrant crowd, and of course this would apply to all disciplines eventually - we just need to get on our feet.

Specifically, I am a strong advocate of trying out a model in which people write their papers/publishable bits on the OWW wiki. Once they are done (revised, commented on, etc.) we publish them to where the work is moderated and if accepted is then hosted there and in effect given a doi which is more citeable in conventional publication. From there it can be submitted wherever the author wishes. ...

To that end, I am trying out a little experiment. I am going to write a paper on the arXiv on a topic that would not normally be publishable in a peer-reviewed journal: about how I used the python programming language to perform all the computational work in a recent comparative genomics study. I will write the paper on OWW, send out the link to it for comments, and when I have revised it, I will submit it to the quantitative biology section of the arXiv.