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Frequently Asked Questions

A growing list of your questions, answered

Published onMay 24, 2021
Frequently Asked Questions

What is Community Publishing?

A: Community Publishing is, in essence, a bottom-up process through which communities define their review, production, curation, and publication models. to collectively contribute to a global scholarly record.  

What are the benefits of a PRC model?

A: Community Publishing shifts the power to define what successful knowledge production looks like to communities of practice. This means that outputs, review processes, impact metrics+ will work in service of the research itself—not a pre-determined, for-profit publishing model. We view this bottom-up empowerment of communities as the necessary future of knowledge communication. When we shift the power to define what successful knowledge production looks like over to communities of practice, a lot of other really great things can happen, like:

  • Customized end-to-end review, curation, production, and publication processes

  • Innovation at a severely reduced cost and with less risk

  • Metrics and impact systems that allow for a multiplicity of goals, allowing groups to define success for themselves

  • The co-existence of multiple alternative models

  • New types of contributions from new and diverse participants

The current model has been around for decades. Why change it now?

A: Today, we’re stuck with a top-down status quo for knowledge communication. The current system is costly, ineffective, perpetuates inequities, and is prohibitively difficult to change. Researchers, reviewers, and readers have responded to the urgency of the coronavirus pandemic by rapidly embracing the flexibility and timeliness of preprints and accelerated, non-traditional forms of evaluation. As a result, more equitable, effective, and sustainable academic publishing models are beginning to emerge at the margins of the ecosystem. We think, with some momentum, we can sustain these changes beyond our current crisis to the benefit of researchers, learning communities, and the public good.

What are some examples of Community Publishing in practice?

A: There are so many examples of Community Publishing happening right now that creating an exhaustive list would be futile. But we can tell you about a handful that we know about and think stand out, and invite you to let us know of others!1

Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 is an open-access overlay journal that seeks to accelerate peer review of COVID-19-related research published as preprints and prevent the dissemination of false or misleading scientific news. The journal’s primary output is, therefore, reviews themselves, bringing greater transparency to the process of determining merit and renegotiating the role of reviews (which are historically private and unpublished) within the public discourse around new knowledge.

Fermentology is a series of talks and related resources about the culture, history and science behind the foods you have at home. Some of the talks will be transcribed and enhanced with media, web resources, recipes, and more, allowing the community to add to and gradually shape and redefine one kind of scholarly output into something different.

PREreview is a platform, resource center, and convener. They seek to bring more diversity and equity to scholarly peer review by supporting and empowering communities of researchers, particularly those at early stages of their career (ECRs) and historically underrepresented in scholarship, to openly review preprints.

Sustainability Science is an evolving book and resource for community development of research and teaching materials via open review, community annotation, and invited commentary. It also extends to the discussion of community needs and will launch new projects to meet them.

Sciety is a platform whose mission is to grow a network of researchers who evaluate, curate and consume scientific content in the open. The platform supports a number of different groups—including eLife, PREreview, and Peer Community In…—working to add transparency and community to the assessment and review process.

Who are some groups spearheading this space?

A: We’re sure we don’t know about them all! But a few partners involved in this initiative and others we are familiar with include the Knowledge Futures Group, PREreview, eLife, the MIT Press, and Peer Community In. If you know of others, or are yourself part of a group that would like to be more directly involved, please contact us!2 Learn more about the group currently behind this website and the Community Publishing Project on the Who We Are page.

How can I get involved?

A: We would love for you to get involved! That’s the whole purpose of this website! Here are some ideas:

  • Establish a Community Publishing model for your publication

  • Promote Community Publishing at your institution or with your students and/or peers

  • Help us develop resources and tools to inform and support more groups as they move away from the current system

  • Plan or help to host a related event (and tell us about it so we can include it on this site)

  • Send us information about people, groups, resources, readings, and/or events that should be collected here

  • Fund infrastructure, projects, and groups supporting or working within a Community Publishing framework

You can always reach us at [email protected].

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