During the week we made plenty of reference to other things out there, but, as we start researching a bit more precisely how we want to implement this effort, it would be nice to hear some more thoughts on exactly how this fits in with other efforts out there.
A few things to focus attention on (but please mention others as well):
PeerJ is interesting but obviously still a giant unknown, which we spent plenty of time speculating about.
figshare has a lot of what we talked about in spirit: a place to publish and cite all kinds of objects. Although textual objects can be put there, the emphasis there is on visual objects, so it doesn’t match quite as well with our conversational focus. But it seems to me whatever we build should include linking to figshare in a nice, integrated way.
PaperCritic by Mendeley is at the other end of the spectrum, totally focused on peer review of actual papers. It doesn’t serve as a place to actually post papers, however. Its usefulness seems intimately tied to how Mendeley-ized your life is, and I think there are both benefits and obvious drawbacks to this. And certainly it’s as unpervasive in the culture as anything else.
Also, Lonnie’s question of why exactly did Nature Precedings fail seems to me very important. Without actually knowing anything, I suspect it’s the lack of a focused community.
To give you all an idea of how figshare can work, here’s the #SciFund Round 2 Data posted by one of our organizers.
I like what Paper Critic is doing – it’s going in the right direction. Still, though, you are dependent on Mendeley to have a paper in the system in the first place, which may or may not happen. Also, you need to Mendeley-ize yourself, and as we discussed, once something becomes tied to an external app…well, it can work.
I think Nature Precedings failed because, well, no one used it. I know a few people who did, but there was little outreach to build an audience that used it. I think when you’re trying to affect a cultural shift, you’re going to need to push a little. It’s those first few months that are most crucial, and yet, I didn’t see any major push in our community – so I’m not sure if it was elsewhere as well.