Collaborative Scientific Publishing: A New Research Ecosystem

Kate Wescott

Travis Rich, MIT PhD Thesis, 2017


This thesis introduces PubPub, a complete publishing system that is consonant with the way software and research ideas are developed. It is author-driven, continuous, collaborative, and allows for data and code to be directly integrated into the document. PubPub is optimized for collaboration and iterative document creation; taking inspiration from the software development cycle, it allows for more participatory forms of review. We hypothesize that by changing the scientific review process from one of static critique to one of interactive collaboration we can increase the error-detection rate of scientific review. We present an experiment to test this hypothesis by measuring error detection rates across several interactive and non-interactive documents. This work is motivated by a growing recognition that in many fields, notably those that rely on data analysis and computing, the existing review process is not sufficiently fair, accurate, or timely.

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