Hacking scholarly publishing
Adam Hyde wanted to extend scientific research results so they would benefit a far wider audience through current, accessible and replicable dissemination. At present, it can take months - sometimes years - for publishers to create and process scientific research manuscripts, due to unwieldy toolsets and archaic, inflexible practices. Science and research are key to the advancement of human knowledge, but no one can benefit from the results while it languishes in a production pipeline.
Adam’s idea was to build the necessary platforms, methodologies and communities to unblock this systemic obstruction. Through his community organisation - the COKO Foundation - he planned to institute open source collaborative knowledge production and publication as part of the academic process.
Adam achieved a huge amount in his three years as a Shuttleworth Fellow, building a suite of open tools and methodologies to facilitate easier, faster and more collaborative publishing. He broke down a systemic problem lying at the heart of the scholarly publishing process that few acknowledged, let alone tried to fix. And he introduced new ways of thinking around workflows - a field renowned for its banality - to ensure knowledge is pushed out into the world quickly and reliably.
The bottom-up community-based frameworks innovated by Adam have been central to COKO’s success in unlocking these archaic systems and processes. The COKO name is now recognised throughout the industry, and his ability to inspire others and win over support from a vast array of disparate fields is involving academics, researchers, administrators, funders and publishers. Many have become valued contributors.
The Shuttleworth community also gained a lot from Adam’s unique way of thinking. As a former artist with a degree in philosophy, he brought an interesting creativity to problem-solving many of the real world, practical issues fellows often endure. Since his fellowship ended his projects have continued to blossom. Recently, he organised and launched the Open Publishing Awards to celebrate and raise awareness of openness in the publishing industry.
“It wasn’t just about the money. With what I’m trying to do, you sacrifice a lot because you do it alone. The Foundation is so important in terms of support. I felt like I had allies when no one else got what I am trying to do.