eLife Launching New Open-Source Tool For Publishing Named Continuum
Until recently, the eLife journal has been hosted by Highwire Press, who helped us to build and launch the journal website under a very tight schedule in 2012. However, to fully explore how we might bring science to life in a digital environment, we need to have as much control as possible over the tools that we use. So, last year, we made the decision to build our own publishing platform: eLife Continuum. The name comes from our desire to create a platform that fully supports continuous publication, and that will continually develop, which is part of the eLife philosophy.
The decision to develop our own infrastructure also came naturally once we had put into place a number of small, purpose-built solutions necessary to accommodate our growth – in publications and type of content, and demand for new functionalities.
eLife Continuum opens the door to a number of handy new features:
We can now do true continuous publication, and introduce content at any hour, on any day. We also have full support for new article versions even after the final version of record is published.
We have full control of the conversion of our article XML to HTML, and can control the pace at which we update our XML in order to adopt best practices for tagging, such as the recommendations coming out of JATS4R.
We can make copies of our site easily for testing and development using Amazon Web Services, which we leant on heavily while building the platform.
Our content processing workflow is extensible, and the reporting dashboard can be modified in the future to show information about the full life-cycle of an article, from submission through to post-publication activities, such as deposit to PubMed Central.
Right now, we are learning from running in a real environment, and have decided to add some new features which were not obvious to us in the design phase. We are also making the code less eLife-specific so that others may use it.
We will open-source eLife Continuum over the Summer. When we release the code publicly, we will make available some of the more technical details of how the system is put together, and we will welcome suggestions for improvement, or feature requests.
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.