Looking back at the PubSweet Collaboration Week

Jure Triglav May 30, 2019

We’ve been waiting years for this moment to come and now that it did, I can say it was worth the wait! What am I talking about? Why the PubSweet collaboration week, of course! Specifically, I’m talking about asking multiple organizations, with diverse goals and approaches, to contribute their components and other improvements back to PubSweet, the framework their apps are built upon.

The Setup

The introductory meeting was held in Cambridge, at the offices of our gracious host, eLife, on May 7th and 8th. After that, some of us travelled back to our homes, and we all continued working together remotely until the end of May 13th. So roughly a full work week of dedicated time from our ~20 awesome community members who attended.

While we are all in the same room together, we discussed which components from each of the built systems would be most useful for others. We wanted contributions that were versatile, but also manageable in scope, so that they could be completed in the few days we had to make this work.

The Work

After we decided on which components we’d tackle, we split into multiple mixed groups (e.g. a group of devs from EBI, eLife, and Coko, or another group of designers/product managers from EBI, Hindawi and eLife, or yet another group of devs with a Hindawi, eLife mix) and went into separate rooms to focus on the tasks at hand.

Group with a mix of designers/devs/product folks

I ran around from group to group to check if they need help with anything, but things were going very smoothly, and it was amazing to see how quickly we can start working together on a problem, because of the shared understandings that we’ve all invested so much time in. It’s amazing to me, that it’s possible to get a dev from EBI, a designer from eLife and a product manager from Hindawi to work on a task, and they immediately understand what each of them is talking about: which technologies, which user behaviour patterns, which features, and the list goes on! This is only possible because of the work that the community has done both the technology and the people side of things: many meetings where we learned how (and why) to work together, all of the facilitation done during these meetings, making sure every voice is heard, consistent theming system, the efforts around a shared data model, and so much more. It’s all clicking into place!

People Picker Pickers from EBI, Coko & eLife

Everyone’s super serious in these photos. That’s ok, it was a serious meeting. But we did make custom socks for it (I should’ve taken a group sock photo…)! And we also made some complex 3D structures out of the post-its at the end of the meeting!

Complicated 3d thingy out of 2d post-its

The Outcome

All good things must come to an end, and so did the inaugural collaboration week. At the end of the last day we had 3 new bigger 100% tested and documented components in PubSweet:

* A modal component (this pattern is used in 4 apps and can now be reused)
* A pagination component (another very commonly used pattern)
* A people picker (a multi-select auto-complete thingy, a useful pattern for e.g. selecting reviewers)

In addition to these bigger components, some smaller components (like InputWithAddons) were also added.

You can check all of them out in our documentation: http://pubsweet.coko.foundation.

Additionally, we’ve collaboratively designed a multi-file upload component that will fit the use cases of all of existing xPub apps (journal publishing sub-ecosystem of PubSweet apps) and potentially more apps. This is currently in development by EBI, so I’ll share more soon!

And additionally additionally, many conversations moved forward, specifically around chat and annotations, and we’ll share more soon!

The End

I’d like to thank all community members for being as awesome as they are, their knowledge and skills coupled with a big scoop of their humanity, understanding and collaborative spirit, make all of this possible. Thank you!

And dear reader, thanks for making your way through this post and joining us on our journey in collaboration and open source in scholarly publishing. If you have any questions or ideas, please join us on our open chat: https://mattermost.coko.foundation.

Great Success!

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Jure Triglav

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