Scholarly HTML Hackfest Cambridge UK March

The momentum of “Beyond the PDF” continues and we are planning a hackfest in Cambridge in March to build scholarly publishing tools. I floated the idea yesterday (one of the many discussion threads you can read). The details are coalescing to the following:

Martin , Peter and others (including me) formed a “Writing” group as part of BtPDF and came up with a (complete) design for scholarly authoring (on the diagram BTPDF is code name for the system)

(Copyright PMR, CC-BY; used without explicit permission of the author).

We believe that we have enough open source tools, volunteers and service providers to create a compelling prototype. So during about 11-20 March there will be intense activity in Cambridge putting it together. The rough timetable is:

  • 9/10/11 Mar PT arrives
  • 12-13 Hackfest in Chemistry dept
  • 14-18? Martin arrives. Free-form hacking with members of PT, MF and members of PMR group. Visitors welcome in reasonable numbers
  • 19 (Sat) informal hack day. Depends on numbers, probably not in chemistry. Maybe in the Panton (which we think will have wifi). Maybe in the Open Knowledge Foundation. We can’t use the Centre as it’s science week and there are zillions of budding young scientists in the Dept.
  • 20 Integration Hackfest in UCC (if it makes sense). Pub at lunch, evening …

Attendees from last hackfest included Ben O’Steen, Rufus and random OKF’ers, Chris Gutteridge and Dave Flanders.

Anyone is welcome but let us know beforehand for safety/security (it’s a chemistry dept). As we get possible attendees we’ll publish a list. This is not a sleep-over hackfest (it’s a chemistry dept) but there are lots of good pubs.

It is a hackfest, not a tutorial. So be prepared to get your fingers dirty. You don’t have to be a coder – we’ll welcome:

  • Coders
  • Integrators (e.g. people who can work plugins, repos, OAI-PMH, RSS, etc.)
  • Content providers (Open of course)
  • Documentation
  • Packaging and distribution
  • Evangelism
  • Funders

And more

The last hackfest was 2 days and the achievements were sensational. This one will be even more so. We’ll provide geek food. The only problem is burn-out.

We are calling this “Scholarly HTML”. It will bring power back to the authors. Too much of our scholarly communication is controlled by digital neo-colonialists. HTML was and is an agent of revolution and democracy. This hackfest is in that tradition.


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3 Responses to Scholarly HTML Hackfest Cambridge UK March

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, Cambridge - Scholarly HTML Hackfest Cambridge UK March « petermr's blog --

  2. Looks interesting. I had a related idea recently, for a program I called “Cricket” (no particular reason). The idea was for a tool that would let you work in two modes – author or reviewer. So with the author ‘hat’ on, you would fire up an (external) editor, edit some stuff and then version it (git, hg, etc).
    Then – with your reviewer hat on – you could receive patches (opaquely) from someone else’s editing of some document and review them. And v.v. of course. Anyway, it sounds a little bit like what you are suggesting, if much smaller in scope.

  3. Pingback: A very brief history of Scholarly HTML | Gobbledygook

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