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eLife announces partnership to develop research communications platform Libero


By Paul Brackley


Cambridge non-profit organisation eLife, which provides a platform for research communications, has announced a new partnership to develop the community-driven Libero software.

The open-source publication platform provides services and applications that enable content providers to do more with everything they publish.

Based at the Westbrook Centre off Milton Road, eLife has teamed up with fellow non-profit Collaborative Knowledge Foundation (Coko), open-access publisher Hindawi Limited and digital consultancy Digirati to build on the platform.

eLife, which originally developed Libero, hopes the partnership will encourage adoption.

Paul Shannon, eLife head of technology, said: “Since the beginning of ts development in 2015, Libero, formerly known as Continuum, has evolved from an enabler of innovation for eLife’s own journal to a more reusable and modern platform for publishing.

“Now, seeing the need for an even more adaptable iteration of Libero, we decided to kick-start a new version that would be developed in close concert with the community to help encourage its adoption further down the line.”

The partners first came together in the summer at eLife’s Libero Sprint event.

“Under the benevolent dictatorship model, eLife assumes the role of project lead,” Paul said. “However, to ensure others have a way to influence us in this role, we decided to support this model with the formation of a steering group and collective commitment to a memorandum of understanding.”

John Baker, founder of Digirati, said: “We are deeply committed to a community-driven approach to software development and the creation of sector-wide open infrastructure. No sector is more ripe to experience the benefits at this current time than academic journal publishing, so we are very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this initiative.”

In parallel with Libero, eLife, Coko, Hindawi and others are working together to build xPub – a user-driven, open-source platform that will help streamline communications between authors, editors and reviewers at all stages of the submission and review process.

Kristen Ratan, co-founder of Coko, added: “By integrating a web-delivery tool like Libero with Coko’s xPub manuscript submission and peer-review platform, we will now have an end-to-end open-source solution for journal publishing.”

Andrew Smeall, chief digital officer at Hindawi, said: “Our organisations are aligned behind a vision for research communication where the content and underlying technology are fully open, and this project is another great step towards achieving that vision.

“Open-source technology has the potential to harmonise basic services, such as content delivery, and encourage new approaches to doing more to support discovery and the wide use of new knowledge, and we can’t wait to see the latest version of Libero released into this ecosystem.”



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