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ANALYSIS AND NEWS


Amazon Web Services (AWS), another open platform, recently announced it has reduced costs to academic researchers. The powerful platform coupled with transparent, predictable economics will speed data analysis and data sharing to accelerate research timeframes.


What is open source? Open source is software created with source code freely available for modification or enhancement by developers. These changes are also made freely available to benefit the whole user community.


People with motivation and skill who need to solve the same problem can all contribute to advance a better solution, no matter their professional affiliation or location. Drupal is open source software. With more than one million participants, it is among the largest developer communities in the world. It is the content management platform for world-recognised publishers, universities, large news media outlets, including The Economist and BBC Worldwide, and government agencies such as data.gov.uk and whitehouse.gov.


Collaboration, accountability, globalism, and innovation are community values. HighWire selected Drupal as the technology for web site development in 2009. The scale of the Drupal developer community means vast libraries of ‘modules’ are proven and tested. This enables developers to respond faster to market demands. For example, in research communications, publishers want to optimise the speed of indexing new content by search engines to improve discoverability. XML Sitemaps help Google to do this faster. Instead of having to develop new code to pass XML Sitemap data to Google, developers at HighWire configured an existing Drupal module for ‘robots.txt’. It is used across HighWire’s platform and others using the Drupal module benefit.


DOIs and APIs


The Digital Object Identifier (DOI), a standard persistent identifier for journal articles, has revolutionised the ability for computer systems to have conversations about a journal article. From pre-publication to post-publication, a journal article’s DOI is a ‘key’ for an API. Many systems use APIs referencing the DOI to enhance the information associated with that journal article. Innovators use open systems,


22 Research Information JUNE/JULY 2016


APIs and persistent identifiers to solve problems. For example, DataCite provides DOIs develop and support standards for persistent identifiers for data, so that systems can recognise the DOI as a data set and include appropriate metadata. This enables researchers to reference data sets and create citations to data. Other systems can link DOIs for data to DOIs of associated publications.


Innovation and interoperability Today, innovation is accelerating to solve problems across the entire research communication workflow. Already ‘101 Innovations in Scholarly Communication’ has uncovered 600 software solutions, and 250 were created in the past three years.


models for post-publication peer review. The Annotating All Knowledge coalition of scholarly publishers, libraries, and technology organisations, including HighWire, is advancing standards to integrate annotation and conversation on the web. Open tools such as hypothes.is also support integration of commentary into peer review workflows. When scholars begin to use this innovative technology, new needs and applications will arise. An open approach will enable more rapid evolution across systems.


‘Open source solutions enable new approaches for discussion of research’


At that pace of innovation, the larger ecosystem will benefit from interoperability. Platform providers can integrate innovations that the community adopts to help these new approaches scale more quickly. Today there are more than 2.2 million individuals with an ORCID iD. The ORCID registry is on an open platform with open source and APIs to its registry of unique identifiers, and they invite participation in the ORCID technical community. Peer-review also offers examples. Open source solutions enable new approaches for discussion of research. Disqus, a discussion platform, supports ongoing conversations about research articles. Simply by configuring Disqus with the content management platforms, developers can support new


Attracting talented developers Talented software developers are in demand across all industry sectors. HighWire recognised the need to plan for growth at a rapid scale when deciding on Drupal. When investing in any platform, tapping into a skilled talent pool is more efficient than training new hires. The number of talented developers contributing to Drupal was an important consideration. To increase speed to innovative solutions, HighWire is expanding its global development team, adding dozens of positions in Belfast, UK. Solving for scale and attracting the best developers over the long term requires creativity. There is a passionate community of Drupal engineers in Belfast and more planning to build their career with Drupal. To grow the talent pool, HighWire has launched a training program, the HighWire Academy, with local partners SERC and the Northern Ireland Department of Employment and Learning. The challenging training course focuses on Drupal, PHP, open source content management systems and Linux. The first five-week session was fully subscribed with 18 high-calibre developers selected from more than 80 applications. This commitment to growing the talent pool is one way to contribute to a dynamic developer community, secure a highly trained talent pool ready to contribute new solutions and establish a centre of excellence. The need for easier dissemination of, and access to, research publications will continue to drive business model, workflow and technology changes. Open, interoperable technology solutions will help build a responsive ecosystem to support innovation in scholarly communication more quickly and bring it to a new scale.


Tracy Capaldi-Drewett is vice president for EMEA sales and global marketing at HighWire Press.


@researchinfo www.researchinformation.info


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