Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Launch of LiquidPub

The Institut Jean Nicod in Paris officially launched the LiquidPub project on June 1, 2008.  From the project home page:

The world of scientific publications has been largely oblivious to the advent of the Web and to advances in ICT. Even more surprisingly, this is the case even for research in the ICT area: ICT researchers have been able to exploit the Web to improve the (production) process in almost all areas, but not their own. We are producing scientific knowledge (and publications in particular) essentially following the very same approach we followed before the Web. Scientific knowledge dissemination is still based on the traditional notion of ?paper? publication and on peer review as quality assessment method. The current approach encourages authors to write many (possibly incremental) papers to get more ?tokens of credit?, generating often unnecessary dissemination overhead for themselves and for the community of reviewers. Furthermore, it does not encourage or support reuse and evolution of publications....

The Liquid Publications community proposes a paradigm shift in the way scientific knowledge is created, disseminated, evaluated and maintained. This shift is enabled by the notion of Liquid Publications, which are evolutionary, collaborative, and composable scientific contributions. Many Liquid Publication concepts are based on a parallel between scientific knowledge artifacts and software artifacts, and hence on lessons learned in (agile, collaborative, open source) software development, as well as on lessons learned from Web 2.0 in terms of collaborative evaluation of knowledge artifacts.

The main concepts are illustrated in the papers [at the LiquidPub web site]....

In a nutshell, the approach proposes the following ideas and contributions:

1. It introduces the notion of Liquid Publications (and, analogously, Liquid Textbooks) as evolutionary, collaborative, multi-faceted knowledge objects that can be composed and consumed at different levels of detail.

2. It abstracts (and replaces) the notions of journals and conferences into collections, which are groupings of publications that can be based on topic and time but also on arbitrary rules in terms of what is included and how the quality of publications is assessed for them to be included in the collection. Collections can themselves be liquid. We believe that journals as they are conceived today (a periodic snapshot of papers on a given topic, selected by a restricted group of experts and based on submissions) will soon become obsolete both in their printed and electronic forms.

3. It proposes a radically different evaluation method for publications and for authors....The method also encourages early dissemination of innovative results....

Although the change advocated here is dramatic, the transition is not....

PS:  Note that LiquidPub is looking for a post-doc.

Update.  Institute Jean Nicod is only one of four institutions collaborating on LiquidPub.  The three principal investigators for the project are all from the University of Trento.  (Thanks to Jim Law, at Trento, for the correction.)