[open-science] A new collaborative editor for open science

David Knutson dknutson at plos.org
Fri Feb 10 19:24:23 UTC 2017

The How Open is it Guide may prove useful to this discussion (Spectrum of Open Access).


David Knutson
Mobile +1 651-260-8288

From: open-science [mailto:open-science-bounces at lists.okfn.org] On Behalf Of The Winnower
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2017 10:38 AM
To: Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk>
Cc: open-science <open-science at lists.okfn.org>
Subject: Re: [open-science] A new collaborative editor for open science

Sure, happy to clarify!  Although I might disagree with your definition of exactly what Open is/means. I think there can be a spectrum when talking about Open and that not all requirements of yours need be met, although I am sure that is a point of disagreement amongst many in science.

On Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 1:33 PM, Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk<mailto:pm286 at cam.ac.uk>> wrote:

On Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 5:53 PM, The Winnower <jnicholson at thewinnower.com<mailto:jnicholson at thewinnower.com>> wrote:
Hello list!

My name is Josh Nicholson and I work at Authorea, a startup trying to improve how researchers write their manuscripts, grants etc. We've just announced the release our new editor and I wanted to share it with you in hopes that you find it useful and exciting

You can see a demo of Authorea in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa1ObxI_dqU

A few interesting points:
1. Each article is a git repository that allows advanced version control and data management
2. You can write in Markdown, LaTeX, or Richtext
3. We offer direct submission to a growing list of journals
4. We are the only HTML preprint server.

You can test it yourself here: https://www.authorea.com/signup

I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have too!

[I comment since this list is run by the Open Knowledge (Foundation) and promotes materials and processes consistent with the Open Definition which it also manages. This is not intended to be confrontational, but to resolve clarity in the light of many inappropriate uses of "Open" to promote products and organisations.]

Could you please clarify exactly in what way this is or is not Open Science? (I note that the Wikipedia article on Authorea describes it as supporting "open science" but it is unclear how. It may well be Open Science, in which case fine, but I cannot find this on the site). I have helped to create the OKI's  Open Definition opendefinition.org<http://opendefinition.org> ("free to use, re-use, and redistribute") and note that simply "gratis" is not "Open". In general Open materials and services are guaranteed by licences or contractual clauses. I would not describe science published under an open access licence as de facto Open science. Also a tool generating open access articles is not, de facto, Open unless its licence complies with the Open Definition.  (If this were true, then Microsoft Word could be described as an Open Science tool. Similarly any collaborative tool used for science - such as Google Docs could be described as "Open Science").
* is the source code Open? (OSI-compliant)

We have parts of the codebase open sourced: https://github.com/Authorea/texstyles

* is all the content Open (can it be downloaded without further permissions)?

This is at the author's discretion, similar to bioRxiv.

* are the processes openly scrutinisable and transparent?

Again, at the author's discretion but in general, yes.

* is there *specific* support for Open Science in the tool.

Yes, we allow researchers to upload and share postprints/preprints as online web documents, not just PDF or Word.

And, though this is a complex subject, is there any contractual legal instrument ("Open lock") that prevents the tool or organization being sold to a for-profit commercial company?

We are a for-profit company.


Thanks for your time.


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Peter Murray-Rust
Reader Emeritus in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dept. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge

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