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

Alexandre Hannud Abdo abdo at member.fsf.org
Sat Feb 11 19:29:41 UTC 2017


Hi Heather, I often question myself on those terms. But then I recall that
it's actually the opposite.

Being strict on the interfaces that let our work scale - that ultimately
empowers even someone completely disconnected from working together - is
actually the main thing that prevents our energy from being diverted in
ways that promote no change. Those interfaces are the licenses, standards
and participatory culture that define open.

What I recall is how all of FOSS thrived because of this strictness. By
remaining strict even as Microsoft took over the world in the 80's, we came
to see real change and, community wise, we even came to see "the
impossible" which has been the 'open source' and the 'free software' folks
to a large extent coming back together. All fo this thanks to remaining
strict on those interfaces. It is not by accident that the GPL was called
the constitution of FLOSS.

Would anyone say that devoting respect to a constitution is like following
religious dogma?

The story is similar with Wikimedia, it's growth and influence over several
institutions depends solidly on the rigour of these interfaces.


A different question, which I believe is what you're reasoning upon, is how
this applies to the current US administration. And, going back to the
overall discussion, to companies like Authorea.

On the USA's troll president, I can only say that if your vote counts or
you live in that country, you should be putting medium-term goals into
perspective, 'open science' being only one of those, and take to the
streets to fight against fascism in the short term. That's an easy call, as
you did put it. It doesn't change, however, the priorities and core values
of the open science movement, which in the long run should enable a
scientific environment where people like those who voted for the troll also
feel included, and don't turn their backs on science so easily (thought I
don't think it was that easily... but let's not divert).

Now, about Authorea, I believe the Github comparison is great, since that's
a service that I avoid using for my research. Because Github is closed
source, people will eventually find themselves stuck under proprietary
lock-in, specially as webIDEs become more popular and as research code
stops being an amateur endeavor. Meanwhile, we can and should promote more
open alternatives like Gitlab, which is sufficiently open-source that if
ever there is a problem we can fork on them. Believing the goals of these
corporations won't conflict with the goals of science is ignoring the
history of Open Access. I would hope we learn from our mistakes, not repeat
them. So if Authorea is not open, let's call it not open. And if we find it
useful, let's call it useful and not open - there is no contradiction in
that. And then, even as some use it because of its usefulness, let's
develop and prioritize open alternatives to it.


On Sat, Feb 11, 2017 at 7:07 AM, Richard Smith-Unna <rds45 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:

> To my mind Authorea is a tool for open science, whilst not necessarily
> being open itself. In the same way that github is a tool for open source.
> Authorea allows authors to collaborate openly and publish the resulting
> work openly. The must be a place for such services in a healthy open
> ecosystem.
> Richard
> On Fri, 10 Feb 2017, 23:25 Puneet Kishor, <punk.kish at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > On Feb 10, 2017, at 8:51 PM, Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>> >
>> > Authorea may be a useful collaborative tool and some of its
>> practitioners may post OD-compliant material but this by itself does not
>> guarantee Open Science by the Open Definitions.
>> Indeed, very true.
>> Nevertheless, Authorea may be a useful collaborative tool for some
>> practitioners of open science. I hope Authorea folks are successful and
>> make money so they not just survive but become better and continue to make
>> it easy for such practitioners to practice open science.
>> --
>> Puneet Kishor
>> Just Another Creative Commoner
>> http://punkish.org/About
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