Just arrived in Athens. The Coko Athens team (now 4) are here and all in good form. Today I checked out the new office and we talked through a lot of items including:
recap of the PubSweet London meet for Alexis and Christos who weren’t there
discussion about a new developer for Athens
discussion about pagedmedia and Vivliostyle
Then finally pizza!
Tomorrow we will talk about Wax, xpub, and Editoria…plenty to discuss!
Then on Sunday, I fly to Singapore to present on “Developing an open source publishing ecosystem founded on community collaboration”. Looking now at the website I found out I am a featured speaker! Whoot! https://crossreflive17.sched.com/directory/speakers
After Singapore I travel, finally after 2 months away, back to San Francisco. Awesome. It’s been a long haul. I think this year I’ve been on the road about 5 months. I thought I had given up being a nomad some years ago… seems that once you cross that line, it’s easy to do again…
I’ve also brought this subject up a number of times in Shuttleworth Foundation meetings and received some invaluable advice and insights from fellow Fellows and Shuttleworth staff… many of whom have heard my whacky ideas several times over now and are still patiently listening and offering advice! Forever grateful to y’all… especially Helen, Sean, Arthur, and Andrew for ideas and feedback.
But what I didn’t expect, is that I’d be part of a wider community where these ideas could form the basis of the culture. This is what I saw happen this week in London as part of the PubSweet Global meet Coko hosted (& I facilitated).
There were about 25 of us coming together to discuss all things PubSweet with particular emphasis on building Journals. Present were many folks from eLife, Hindawi, Ubiquity, and Coko. We got to the topic of ‘Technical Council’ and I tabled the idea that we need some kind of process in place so that all stakeholders feel they are getting a say in, and are being heard, the future of PubSweet – since it is their technology too.
When I tabled the idea that we need some form of technical council, Catriona MacCallum, who I used to work with at PLOS, asked the very salient question – and what about the users?
I’m very grateful to Catriona for that question as it gave me the opportunity to open up the concept and talk about how there are very few communities in open source that treat software development as anything other than just a technical problem, and further that we should take this opportunity to experiment in making this community strong on solving ‘user needs’ and design… it was a great discussion and I’m also grateful to eLife’s head of product – Giuliano Maciocci – for having a strong voice in favor of this and really stepping into, what looks to be, an emergent leadership role with regard to design in the community.
As a result, we formed a Dev Council and a Design Council. These are oversight/communication groups of 5 people each. So, they don’t ‘govern’ but the choice by the community to form these two groups is a testament to how seriously the community is to making beautiful products that solve real problems in publishing for real people…