Community-led construction: A peek inside OHBM’s journey toward Aperture

The Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) has set its sights on Aperture: a new initiative to develop an open publishing platform by and for their own community.

More than a platform, Aperture aims to rethink the ‘norms’ associated with communicating academic research, bringing transparency and interactivity to the publishing process. Initial focus will be on reviews, tutorials and educational materials, shifting eventually toward including original research featuring computational notebooks, interactive plots, software, data, and post-publication peer-review. By following this path, OHBM wants to promote the creation of living, reusable and reproducible research objects.

To get there, the organization first participated in a workflow sprint with Coko co-founder Adam Hyde.  Next, they solicited feedback from attendees at their annual meeting (Singapore, 2018). From here, they conducted a survey of community members beginning in December 2018. The survey sought to  capture feedback on several dimensions of the publishing process. Nearly 200 responses were captured. If you are interested in examining these conclusions yourself or diving into other aspects of the data, be sure to check out the github repository. There, you can access the anonymized data and these initial analyses as well as an interactive environment to explore them in your web browser using Binder.

Overall, there seems to be a clear enthusiasm for a new kind of publishing platform by and for the OHBM community, and Aperture will fill this role. The project is still actively investigating potential technical platforms, with an eye toward building with PubSweet. Recently, a representative of the Aperture development team participated in the PubSweet Community meeting to assess the fabric of the community, as well as the breadth and depth of technical components available for use, and reuse by friendly organizations.

We certainly hope that the OHBM/ Aperture community comes to call Coko their  ‘home’ for creating and sustaining this important project which is clearly strengthened by its constituents’ engaged participation.