After being in and around the academic research community for a while as an undergraduate, I have noticed many things which I think can be improved. Furthermore, I would claim the current state of affairs in regards to scientific journal publishers needs to be greatly improved in order to ensure the scientific progress modern society demands. For an English class as an undergraduate, I prepared a grant proposal for developing a standardized scientific publication tool which would bring many benefits.

I will link to the full paper below and would be thrilled if you read it. Since it is on github, I encourage discussion or pull requests. There are a few key points which are important to keep in mind when reading it.

  • The thing being developed is a standard protocol – think HTTP, SMTP, FTP etc.
  • Publishers (or other companies) can still sell a product on-top of this protocol so long as there is value added (just like email). Examples could be:
    • Nicer interfaces for viewing articles (just like some people pay for nicer email clients)
    • Hosting of a server supporting this protocol (just like email)
    • Uniform editing or formatting of articles
  • The end goal is to make free the default and not the afterthought
  • The growing maker movement, hacker culture, etc. are testament to public participation in science and an open protocol for doing so could bring exciting new ideas

Without further ado, here is the repo and a direct link to the proposal