The Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship


Modified: Thu, 26 May 2022 13:48:43 +0000
Published: 26 May 2022

The principles of the commons provide guidance as to how scholarship should work.  But what about implementation?  Do we know how to put the principles into action? And do we have to tools to do so?  The answer is a qualified “Yes”.  Thanks to the investments in infrastructure and tools and the innovation, insight and energy of individuals and organizations world-wide, we can put principles into action. 

One of the approaches we are taking to translate the principles into actions, is using decision trees that provide a path to compliance for different types of entities within the scholarly commons. These decision trees are meant to be fairly generic, but as objects in the commons, they are free to reuse and modify as needed for different communities. We are not trying simply to operationalise an ideological vision, we are seeking to define and enable a sensible, workable system for digital research and research communications. The decision trees at this point focus on digital entities and the following principles and rules:

  • "P2. Research and knowledge should be freely available to all who wish to use or reuse it. This means that:The commons is open by default; Scholarly objects and content in the commons is  FAIR:  findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable by humans and machines"
  • R1: The rewards for participating in the commons are access, opportunity and attribution.  This means that: Provenance of objects in the commons should be transparent and persistent; The commons has no intrinsic hierarchies, rankings, or reward systems.

  • R2: The commons is agnostic regarding form and technology.  This means that: The commons exists independently of technology, funding, and business models that support and enable it;The commons accepts all contributed objects that adhere to its guidelines on an equal basis regardless of form, genre or approaches

In other words, the commons is a FAIR, Open, Research-Object based, Citable Ecosystem.  In other words, the Scholarly Commons = FORCE!

Our decision trees are a work in progress, and we are targeting FORCE2017 as the launch of the first set.  We are creating a workflow to create these trees in a uniform, easy to use fashion.  But in the meantime, we are just representing them in graphical form so you can see what we are up to.  We welcome your comments and invite you to participate.  

Recent blog posts – open for comment:

Current decision trees:

We are implementing decision trees using the Policy Models software.  Links to current versions of decision trees are found in the Matrix of the Commons.  

Handbook of the Commons:

We have been collecting insights and tips on the Commons and 'commons-ing' as we have been going. Here is a link to our Handbook.

"How to" materials for working on the Policy Models software

NB each module consists of a written set of instructions, with screenshots as appropriate, together with a webinar recording.

1. Learn more about the Policy Models (formerly DataTags) project

2. Setting up to work on the Policy Models

3. References and external text

4. Troubleshooting starting and external text

5.  FORCE11 Policy Models Git Hub repository


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