bioRxiv Selects Hypothesis to Enable Annotation on Preprints

By dwhly | 12 September, 2017

Logos for bioRxiv and Hypothesis.Hypothesis and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory are today announcing the selection of the Hypothesis open source annotation framework for the bioRxiv preprint service as their primary annotation mechanism. Over the next several months we will be working together to identify the launch requirements and complete any necessary work.

The rise of preprint servers has changed the way that scientists share their research findings and the way that the STM publishing ecosystem works. Depositing a copy of a work-in-progress on a preprint server for consideration and input from peers has become the norm in many fields. What used to be a phenomenon limited to math, physics and computer science has spread to the social sciences, the life sciences and chemistry, with other announcements expected imminently. Adoption is increasing rapidly and barriers, like the ability to publish later, are being removed.

While preprints offer near instantaneous availability of research findings and the chance to improve papers through input from a wider audience of potential peers, the infrastructure to enable that input is woefully lacking. Bringing robust annotation capabilities that researchers can utilize across the web into the preprint environment can accelerate discussions, connect findings located on wide-ranging platforms, and ultimately facilitate the critique and evaluation that are essential for progress in science.

Founded in 2013 and managed by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), bioRxiv has shown remarkable growth. It has successfully gained the trust and attention of researchers in the life sciences and in April 2017 bioRxiv announced a partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that will support the long-term growth and evolution of the service.

“We are keen to partner with Hypothesis as they share our vision for community-based services that support scientific communication.” notes Richard Sever, bioRxiv Cofounder and Assistant Director at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press . “bioRxiv has been impressed by Hypothesis’ vision of an open, standards-driven approach to web annotation. This has immense potential to increase discussion, clarification, and critical analysis of academic papers, which will benefit authors and readers. It should be particularly important for preprints on bioRxiv since they are rapid communications of new research that have yet to undergo any formal assessment by the scientific community.”

In an era of rapidly shifting and consolidating publishing models and the uncertainty of proprietary services, an open-source solution brings benefits of predictability, transparency and long-term alignment. Hypothesis is a mission driven organization, founded in 2011, supported by major scientific foundations and dedicated to developing annotation as a transformational capability and shared community platform across all content on the web.

Dan Whaley, Hypothesis’ founder, remarked, “The success bioRxiv has enjoyed and the challenges they’ve overcome bringing preprints to the life sciences are a testament to their team’s hard work and dedication. What’s posted there represents the cutting edge of science and promises to dramatically change how new findings are disseminated. We’re particularly excited to see how annotation can support the increased metabolism of knowledge creation and availability that preprints fundamentally offer. Annotations in public, private, or small group environments over preprints can provide immediate and valuable insight to readers and feedback to researchers, improving the work and its ultimate reproducibility. These annotations can also inform and facilitate the more formal peer review workflows as articles progress to publication. “We look forward to learning more about the needs of preprint services and those who depend upon them so we can better fulfill our mission of being the open, standards-based community feedback platform for all science.”

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