Technical Workshop Background

The overall goal of the meeting is to outline options for reasonable technical specifications for a Central Pre-Review Publication Service. Based on input from this workshop and the scientific community, ASAPbio will approach funding agencies for 5 years of financial support of the Central Service, funds for the operation of a community-supported Governance Body, and potentially other costs that might be related to compatibility of operations with the Central Service.

Based upon current information from funders, scientists, publishers, servers, we are envisioning that the Central Service will:

  1. Have features of PubMed (indexing/search) and PubMed Central (collection, storage and mechanisms of outputting data (manuscripts/figures/data).
  2. Be accountable to a community-supported Governance Body. The Governance Body will recommend that funders and universities use content in the Central Service for grants and promotions.  
  3. Work with servers, publishers, platforms to ingest and aggregate content, ideally in a manner that will be cost-neutral to these parties.
  4. Collect source material, metadata, ethical disclaimers, and licensing in a uniform manner across multiple ingestion sources.
  5. Provide improved preprint services for scientists, such as providing more readable and uniform documents for viewing beyond author-provided pdfs.  
  6. Provide mechanisms for third-party use and innovation on Central Service content.
  7. Work with servers and publishers to link preprints and final journal publications and aggregate other metadata (views, comments, etc) to effectively display the history of a manuscript to the scientific community.
  8. Refrain from involvement in the review or evaluation of scientific work and focus on scientific-driven disclosure and dissemination.

A working model and rationale for the service is outlined here. However, the finalization of an exact model and its implementation is outside the scope of this meeting; this decision will require further input from funders and the scientific community. In addition, ASAPbio will form a separate task force to consider the formation and operation of the Governance Body for the Central Service.

Instead, the output of the meeting will be documents (to be hosted on google docs for live public comment) generated in breakout sessions that focus on modular aspects of a hypothetical Central Service. The documents will form the basis of an RFI that will be circulated to participants for comment before submission to the funder consortium for consideration.  

ASAPbio will appoint a discussion leader for each breakout session beforehand and assign attendees to groups. We will provide a discussion guide describing the desired features of each module. The goal of each breakout session will be to brainstorm reasonable implementations that are open source and interoperable with other services. Ideally, these specifications may include details such as estimated development time, development cost, and suitable service providers.