The theme for this year’s Open Access Week is Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge. Dedicated to enabling a conversation across world knowledge, Hypothesis supports the multitude of people, initiatives, and infrastructure that support open access and open knowledge.
As an historian, I wanted to find out more about the history of Open Access Week. According to Wikipedia, Open Access Week can be traced back to 15 February 2007 when two groups, Students for Free Culture and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (administered by SPARC) held a National Day of Action for Open Access. The celebration went global the next year in October as Open Access Day and was extended to a week the following year. 2018 marks the 10th commemoration of Open Access Week. I first learned about Open Access Day when I started work as product manager at SpringerNature (then Springer Science + Business Media) in 2008. It’s been quite an adventure to see the events and activities associated with it expand over time!
While Hypothesis users can create annotations on any content, paywalled or open, there are clear benefits to creating public annotations on open content that can be viewed and utilized by anyone. Each with its own unique URL, public annotations are themselves scholarly objects participating in an increasingly robust, interconnected, open scholarly infrastructure. As openly accessible content that follows FAIR data principles to be findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable, public annotations can also help make open access content itself even more FAIR. Public annotations made on content with a DOI or which reference a publication with a DOI are added to the Crossref Event Data project for indexing by Google. These are also discoverable via the Hypothesis public stream or within a publisher group layer where they can be searched and explored. We support the creation of a standards-based annotation ecosystem that is truly interoperable, where annotators and organizations that embed annotation tools are free to port their annotations to other standards-based services at any time, avoiding lock in to any specific annotation service. Public channel annotations carry a CC0 declaration to the public domain and are thus sharable and reusable by others.
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Many of our partners are active in the open access and open science spheres, incorporating annotation into these larger projects. We thought we’d use the occasion of Open Access Week to highlight just a few of their activities.
The development of some key, specific tools desired by publishers was generously funded by our partner eLife, an open access life sciences publisher founded in 2011 by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust. As a result of this collaboration, publishers now have the ability to create branded and moderated annotation layers, customize the behavior and look and feel of the site to fit their page, and to moderate contributions. Any organization utilizing our Publisher Groups benefits from this ongoing partnership. This includes upcoming integrations with University of Michigan Press’s Fulcrum platform, Johns Hopkins University Press’s Modernism/modernity, and University of California Press’s Collabra: Psychology, hosted on Ubiquity Press.
Preprints accelerate research through early author and reader engagement on manuscripts freely available prior to publication. The popularity of preprints creates a unique opportunity for open annotation to provide feedback to researchers, spread awareness of new discoveries, and potentially inform the peer review process. The first preprint to embed Hypothesis was Open Therapeutics all the way back in September 2017. January 2018 marked a workshop in New York with many of the preprint services in existence to identify and dive into how annotation could be best utilized in the space. In July 2018, the Center for Open Science announced integration of Hypothesis with a number of preprint servers hosted on their Open Science Framework. We are also working with the Wiley and Atypon to enable annotation on the American Geophysical Union’s Earth and Space Science Online Archive and Cold Spring Harbor’s bioRxiv in 2019.
As the number of open ebooks increases, so does the need for common tools and best practices for readers to make the most of them. We’re very excited to participate in the High Integration of Research Monographs in the European Open Science Infrastructure (HIRMEOS) Project to support scholarly communication in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The project will enable a common toolset — including annotation — across existing open ebook platforms, including Open Edition, OAPEN, Göttingen University Press, EKT’s Open Book Press, and Ubiquity Press. The project is scheduled to be complete by June 2019.
These are just a few of the Open Access and Open Science initiatives that Hypothesis partners are working on. Others include open peer review on the interdisciplinary journal Murmurations, hosted on the Public Knowledge Project’s Open Journal Systems, the numerous Open Access journals hosted on Pensoft’s ARPHA platform, the wide array of content accessible via Ingenta Open, and the recently announced annotation capabilities on BMC’s InReview experiment, powered by Research Square. We also look forward to collaborating with the many participants in the Joint Roadmap for Open Science initiative announced earlier this year.
We wish all of our partners a productive Open Access Week as they employ their talents in support of this year’s theme. We encourage others who share our mission to spread the word, get involved, and work to create the infrastructure and the environment to support researchers across all disciplines. Together, we can make open happen.
Hypothesis is a mission-driven organization dedicated to the development and spread of open, standards-based annotation technologies and practices that enable anyone to annotate anywhere, helping humans reason more effectively together through a shared, collaborative discussion layer over all knowledge. Hypothesis is based in San Francisco, CA, USA, with a worldwide team.
Hypothesis has developed its open-source annotation software in collaboration with many partners and funders, including specific projects to augment groups and authentication capabilities with eLife, to enable annotation on EPUBs with NYU, the Readium Foundation, Evident Point, and EPUB.js, and many others. We thank our funders, partners and community for working with us to advance standards-based, interoperable annotation for all.