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…
Show and Tell for Wax from Coko people Jure and Yannis. Using Jitsi open source video for the demo. Will be re-encoded to ogg vorbis video and posted to the Coko blog shortly. We used Youtube (boooo!) to archive this time around since we couldn’t quite get the jitsicon recording working… will get it right for next time.
In essence, eLife is building on top of PubSweet to build their new manuscript submission system. They will possibly re-use parts of the PubSweet components built for Collabra. That’s the beauty of the PubSweet ecosystem – you can reuse what you want, and build only the new stuff (significantly reducing the burden).
We are already collaborating with eLife and have been for some 4 weeks to refactor parts of PubSweet according to some excellent recommendations made by eLife and their dev partners YLD. They are all great people to work with.