Update from the PubSweet Meeting Last Week

Jure Triglav Sep 9, 2019

As we do every 3-4 months or so, the PubSweet community met again at the end of last week (August 29th and 30th) in Cambridge, where the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) graciously hosted us (thank you so much!). Among the familiar faces of eLife, Hindawi, EBI, Digital Science and Editoria community members, where also some new organisations:

  • Cour des comptes (the French Court of Audit), who are looking to reuse and build against the Editoria application (and have already put documents through the system in their initial user testing with real judges!)
  • Open Book Publishers, an open access book publisher in the humanities and social sciences, who are looking to build a asset management system using PubSweet
  • SAGE’s Tech Lab, who are exploring PubSweet and its potential use cases in the wider SAGE ecosystem

Lively discussions are always present in the PubSweet community and this meeting was no exception. Since we’ve last met, new lessons and learnings have surfaced in our very distributed community, and as usual, we tried to use this face to face time to reach a consensus on a variety of topics and synthesise bits of knowledge that can be shared and used by all community members.

At the core of the meeting were two main topics:

  • Reuse: How much of it has happened, on what level, why and why not.
  • Scalability of development: The teams in the community and their projects have grown significantly in both size and complexity.

During the meeting, several groups in different organisational compositions discussed how PubSweet can tackle these challenges collaboratively and as a community, and as a result, we’ve identified a number of initiatives:

  • An abstraction layer consisting of types (a more flexible reuse-enabling effort compared to the shared data model we’re already using).
  • A community-based examination of new frameworks/sub-frameworks in PubSweet
  • Accessibility improvements in existing PubSweet components

PubSweet as software, as a framework, is facing an increasingly diverse set of needs arising in its community: from 1-2 people organisations wanting to get something up and running very quickly (for example the reuse of Editoria by the Cour des comptes), to teams with 20 or more people looking for ways to easily manage, structure and divide work on their large decoupled projects. Our current tasks are now all focused around figuring out how exactly we can best serve both ends of this spectrum, and everything in between.

On a personal note, it’s incredible to see just how much knowledge and experience in designing and building publishing systems is now embedded in our community. I think that yes, we are looking to tackle increasingly challenging tasks, but also that our community is exceptionally well suited for them.

If the above approaches look like your kind of fun, do reach out on our Mattermost and join the community! 🙂


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Jure Triglav

PubSweet Lead Dev

PubSweet Lead Dev

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