Reassembling Scholarly Communications: An Evaluation of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Monograph Initiative

Alessandra Bordini, John W. Maxwell, Katie Shamash, The Journal of Electronic Publishing, May 01, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is an engaging review of an NYU project to enhance open access monographs. "The close intertwining of scholarly communication, career advancement, and traditional publishing logic make for a powerful status quo that has, as note, managed to resist both the opportunities of digital media and the challenges posed by various apparent crises" What would have been interesting would have been to see NYU partner with Canada's Public Knowledge Project (PKP) to extract the best value from its funding. This is because PKP's Open Monograph Press has been up and running for years now, is widely use, and makes its source freely available on GitHub. Could it be improved? Of course, and that's where this collaboration could really help. And it makes a lot more sense than building a new system from scratch, and NYU press could do much more than to merely "enrich a corpus of books with semantic tags of critical concepts, names, and geographic locations." Maybe, as suggested by Adrian Hodge in an email, this: "an intelligent .zip file of sorts that the learner unpacks someplace, locally / networked that then pulls in the base set of relevant papers, journals, OERs, AND the individuals who are active or central to the area being studied."

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