Nikau Walk

NZers sometimes call New Zealand ‘Godzone’…which I think derived from the mumbly Kiwi accent. When we say ‘gods own’ ( as in ‘gods own country’) it sounds like we are saying ‘godzone’… anyways, on some days, like today when we walked through the bush near Raglan, it feels pretty much like godzone.

A friend – Mike – told me a good related joke on a call the other day…

…there was a NZer walking through the bush in NZ and he sees God walking casually down the path towards him…

NZer: “god! what are you doing here?!!!”

and god replies “…working from home mate!”

…pretty much sums it up.


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Nikau Software Development and Consultancy (NZ)

Very happy to announce that I’m starting a software development company – Nikau Software Development and Consultancy. Incorporated in Northland, NZ the company will slowly build up a client base organically. The primary activity will be building publishing platforms based on PubSweet. This means over time Coko will become the maintainer of community products – PubSweet, Editoria, Kotahi as well as the Open Publishing brand which includes the Open Publishing Awards and Open Publishing Fest.

Nikau will build new publishing platforms. I hope also Nikau will help contribute to the long term sustainability of Coko.

To help me get this underway I have been working with Rabble (Evan Henshaw-Plath).


Rabble is on the Coko advisory board also and his blurb reads:

Rabble is a technologist who explores the intersection of product, engineering, and the political systems in which they exist. His passion is in the space of new emerging start-ups and making the world a better place through civic technology projects. Evan is has helped found and grow a vast number of interesting organisations and technologies including indymedia, Crafted Code, Twitter, Neo,, and Planetary.)

In my own words I’d say Rabble is an enlightened serial entrepreneur that understands the social and commercial side of entrepreneurship very well. I feel there is no need to translate my thoughts and ideas when I bounce them past Rabble and the conversations and his insights are very valuable. Rabble has also, importantly, set up his own software dev shop some years ago (Neo) which he sold to Pivotal in San Francisco some years ago. That, plus being an activist and first employee of twitter makes him a very good person to work with as he has a lot of experience and very valuable networks.

Anyways… more to come on this. It will take some time to get it all moving but for now it doesn’t effect things too much….but stay tuned!…

Book Sprint – Hybrid Environments for Universities report

A report has just been posted about a recent Book Sprint. It is an interesting read – reporting on a Book Sprint about how to work in hybrid realspace-remote environments. As it happens it was written early March, just before the pandemic hit most of the world. Worth a read. The book is also available as an Open Access publication here.


“When we first heard about this way of collaborative writing in a scientific community, we were very curious and happy to be able to take part in this project. It is a good chance for scholars to interact better with each other, share their research, and thus on the one hand improve the outcome and on the other hand spread it in an interdisciplinary manner – not least through an open access publication.” says Melanie Völker, editor at Waxmann.

Thinking through the evolution of network workflows in Publishing

notes for a possible article

Networkflows – a framework for the Evolution of Publishing Workflows

The idea – to define evolutionary stages of Publishing Workflows. Suggested starting 5 are :


  1. Paper
  2. Paper-like digital (digitalised paper)
  3. Non-linear digital
  4. Concurrent
  5. Enlightened collaboration
  • Define workflow

Stage 1 Paper

  • The past – paper and stamps

Stage 2 Post Paper Digital (paper-like)

  • Current state of Publishing workflows
    • Don’t restrain to only journals if possible – more applicable if we keep it wide eg books, micropubs, journal articles, manuscripts of all kinds
    • Current workflows based on post-→digital paper (paper=MS Word, email = envelope+stamp)
    • Operate on the object then send to the next person
    • Linear
    • Each stage gated (one operator per stage)
    • Like a conveyor belt – uni-directional
    • Going ’backwards’ is difficult
    • Difficult to account for the non-linear or ad-hod
    • Control of edits via ‘who holds the doc’ + track changes
    • Many softwares for (eg) managing journals are called workflow systems but really they are for tracking progress and storage. Tracking is also good to use here as it is related to paper

Stage 3 Non-linear (also paper-like?) …The Pizza Model (needs better analogy…maybe car assembly?)

  • Moving Publishing into the network – stage 1 (the pizza table)
    • It is the second stage of digital evolution for publishing
      • Paper → post-paper (1st stage digital) → the network
        • There will be plenty of published theory on the above
        • The pizza theory – a round table, not a conveyor belt
        • Many people can improve the pizza
        • The folks pass the pizza around in any direction
        • Still gated
        • Non-linear, or at least partially linear
        • Actions determined on an ad-hoc basis
        • The pizza can go back and forwards in the flow easily
        • All actors can see what is going on with the pizza

Stage 4 Concurrent collaboration

  • Moving Publishing into the network – stage 2 (concurrent collaboration)
    • Needs a good analogy (shared surface?)
    • The third stage of the digital evolution for publishing
    • People can operate at any time, or on any part of the object
    • Communication is in real time, reflecting more of a conversation
    • Decisions made through conversation
    • Accountability via tools that enable ‘breadcrumbs’ and rollbacks

Stage 5 – enlightened collaboration

  • Authorship starts to dissolve
  • Roles become fluid
  • Facilitation becomes the most important tool
    • Eg Book Sprints
  • Facilitation maintains trust
  • Everyone has the mandate to change the object
  • Flattened hierarchy
  • Comment on diversity
  • Accountability comes via conversation and group relationships