PeerJ as a format/paper on Github: PeerJ/paper-now

A simple, interesting, obvious step: PeerJ/paper-now .  That is, or will be soon, exactly what I need for writing a decent article about chemlambda, i.e. one where I can show, in the article, demos with animations like those from the chemlambda pages.

This may be a huge step forward from the discussions about OA because:

  • offers a clear improvement of the article format, allowing it hopefully to merge with  formats like animations, databases, programs which one can execute in the browser.
  • it exports the format of the paper (this is like if latex were a publisher and decides to export the latex programs so that everybody could write a latex article)
  • which has the obvious advantage that one can host on it’s page an article in an uniform format, idea which solves two things at once: (1) how to make an article friendly for future semantic queries (2) where to put the article on the web
  • Github is already the answer and the perpetrator of a silent revolution (is already more than 10 times bigger than arXiv, and git is a model of collaboration tool which is not based on choke points  and centralized thinking), so to export the PeerJ/paper-now to Github is natural and brilliant.


See also The shortest Open Access and New Forms of Publication question



5 thoughts on “PeerJ as a format/paper on Github: PeerJ/paper-now”

  1. Paper Now is indeed a huge leap forward 🙂 How do we convince MS Word users to start using this model? In my experience, simply showing the result works only on people who at least know the basics of Git.

  2. I am biased here, are there still researchers who use MS Word (and know anything about Git)? A latex2papernow command? It’s a paradigm change. AFAIK there is the precedent of the HoTT book collaboration. Maybe convincing people like Tao or Gowers about using the format for the next collaborative project would help?

    A reachable goal would be to have a decentralized version of arXiv. This means to have some form of versions tracked, the possibility to search for paper-now articles by subject, keywords, authors, a frontpage.

    But this goes much further than that. It changes the nature of the article. (Thanks for having patience with the comment, only the first time somebody comments here there is moderation.)

    Or perhaps PeerJ may offer some form of paper-now versions of the articles?
    (ideally as a user I am offered the possibility to open a github account, which I can do by clicking and filling some forms, then I could choose an article from my PeerJ preprints (or from an existing github account, or from my computer) and be walked through transforming it into a paper-now).
    The advantage would be that typically PeerJ users need and publish more data than arXiv users, in more varied formats. Just look at the misunderstanding behind this page of arXiv: “Support for data sets associated with arXiv articles.
    arXiv is primarily an archive and distribution service for research articles. arXiv provides support for data sets and other ancillary materials only in direct connection with research articles submitted.” It is as if articles which use more than a small quantity of passive, processed results of data are not of scientific interest.
    So if arXiv is like NASA, paper-now could be like Virgin Galactic.

    1. > I am biased here, are there still researchers who use MS Word (and know anything about Git)?

      The vast majority outside of physics and bio-informatics, I’m afraid. Being able to skip leaning LaTeX would be a very good argument IMHO to convince those to ditch Word. Thank luck there are relatively easy-to-learn automations for converting MarkDown into scholarly PDFs.

      > Or perhaps PeerJ may offer some form of paper-now versions of the articles?

      Maybe they should rather set up their own GitLab instance. Having it all public on GitHub could again be a deterrent for some.

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