November 10, 2021
Building Community through Transparent Open Source DevelopmentBy Sarah Lippincott
In October, the Next Generation Library Publishing project hosted its first Community Forum, presented by principal investigators Katherine Skinner (Educopia), Kristen Ratan (Stratos), and Catherine Mitchell (CDL). The forum introduced NGLP’s holistic approach to empowering library publishers and provided progress updates through the lens of the project’s guiding questions:
- Can we center community at the core of transformative change in scholarly publishing?
- Can we develop interoperable tools that build on what already works, while keeping the door open for innovation?
- Can we provide scalable solutions tailored to the needs of library publishers?
- Can we develop values-aligned services that operate with sustainable business models?
These guiding questions also underlie our commitment to building NGLP’s software components in the open.
Our software development approach centers the library publishing community. The tools and resources we’re developing grew from extensive community needs assessment and ongoing engagement, and we’ll rely on community maintenance to steward our software into the future. We’re building on the wisdom and experience of library workers and their collaborators, benefiting from their deep understanding of the technical workflows, relationship building, and coordination required to run mission-driven publishing programs. From our project partners at CDL, Longleaf Services, and Janeway, to the members of our user group, our advisory board, and beyond, we connect daily with individuals who have a vested interest in building a brighter future for library publishing.
We’re looking to enhance rather than replace the tools and workflows that library publishers already use. Our project takes seriously the need to effectively steward the limited resources available to invest in open source software development and maintenance, platform migrations, library publishing labor, and start-up costs. Keeping peer projects apprised of what we’re doing helps us distribute effort, avoid redundancy, and build in interoperability from the start.
We love the diversity of our library publishing community and want to ensure that our tools can work for anyone: from a small college publishing a handful of journals to a large consortium hosting hundreds of thousands of publications. That means engaging voices from all of these contexts. Building in the open helps us ensure that there are no insiders in our development process.
Finally, we want mutually beneficial products and business models that work for library publishers, values-aligned service providers, and open source software maintainers. We are working collaboratively with the scholarly communications community to think beyond sustainable models towards regenerative ones. Through our collaborative business and governance modeling, we’re seeding a cooperative, distributed approach to maintaining software that helps ensure market diversity, long-term (sustainable and predictable) alignment with library publishers, and high quality products with competitive features. Building transparently broadens the potential marketplace of values-aligned service providers and helps our community hold its members accountable to maintaining their values-alignment over time.
The success of building in the open works because of you! We have numerous and evolving ways for you to get involved. This fall, we invite you to:
- Watch our Community Forum recording
- Review our public documentation
- Volunteer to join our user group
- Meet with us to discuss a pilot partnership
Learn more at linktr.ee/NGLP.
About the Next Generation Library Publishing project
Educopia, California Digital Library (CDL), and Strategies for Open Science (Stratos), in close partnership with Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), Longleaf Services, and Janeway are working to advance and integrate open source publishing infrastructure to provide robust support for library publishing. The project’s purpose is to improve publishing pathways and choices for authors, editors, and readers through strengthening, integrating, and scaling up scholarly publishing infrastructure to support library publishers. In addition to developing interoperable publishing tools and workflows, our team is exploring how to create community hosting models that align explicitly and demonstratively with academic values. The project is generously funded by Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.