From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

2004 discussion on scholarly publishing: Talk:Wiki Scholarly Journals.

Current discussion at the WikiJournal User Group: Talk:WikiJournal/WikiJournal User Group

Next steps: 'technical requirements' v2: updated and prioritised list[edit]

Apologies that I've gotten a bit behind on this discussion, but I thought I should add a note to say that I think a sensible next step would be putting together a v2 of the 'technical requirements' with a bit more detail on each one (but still aiming to be brief) as well as some sort of priority (importance and technical feasibility). T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 03:52, 24 June 2019 (UTC)

I think you mean "with a bit more"...I believe it's worth pointing out here so people don't think we mean a list of bots to be used on the project. SelfieCity (talk) 00:19, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks! corrected. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 05:50, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

I've now made a page WikiJournal/Technical wishlist to summarise and prioritise the features being discussed here (and others). Eventually phabricator tasks can be linked to for those that are important+implementable. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 07:55, 25 July 2019 (UTC)

I've also asked over at mediawiki (Topic:V4taqczdm6vwe6yx) for any feedback on how difficult the proposed items might be to implement. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 04:39, 5 August 2019 (UTC)

How many developers do you plan on hiring ? Cause that is a LONG list. Like at least 5 times as much work as wikisource needs (and hasn't received in over 15 years). —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 19:55, 5 August 2019 (UTC)

@TheDJ: Thanks - that's very useful to know. Initially, I expect we will probably aim to put together whatever sized dev team is necessary to do 5-10 of the highest priority items that aren't prohibitively difficult. In part, getting a better handle on the relative difficulties of the different items will help a lot in planning. Most of the items are relatively independent, so don't have too many contingencies on one another. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 00:38, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
I haven't contributed to the WikiJournal project, but have some thoughts on the technical to-do list, with a focus on getting the project up-and-running. If it matters:
  • cross-wiki transclusion from Wikipedia - see mw:Manual:$wgEnableScaryTranscluding - unlikely to be enabled. Instead, I suggest configuring importing to allow easier imports to-and-from Wikipedia (setting wikipedia as a source for wikijournal, and vice versa)
  • Figures using File:... syntax automatically numbered and attributed, Namespace unreviewed articles e.g. Draft: or Preprint: - can be implemented without developer contributions using the fig template and by configuring user rights to only allow specific user groups to create pages in the main namespace (like enwiki does)
  • Pages only viewable to some users to discuss potential peer reviewers to contact - see phab:T227595#5347067 - restricting who can read pages is not well implemented, and is likely to require significant work to set up
  • Categorise users as author/reviewer/editor for a particular page, Addition of published articles to Wikidata, Auto-update journal's homepage when an article is accepted - not software that requires development, can be done with user scripts (if desired)
Anyway, if I can help create any user scripts I'd be glad to pitch in - thanks for everything the WikiJournal project is doing! Thanks, --DannyS712 (talk) 01:15, 6 August 2019 (UTC)

This technical wishlist needs to acknowledge the higher priority of all the technical requirements that are considered necessary or strongly recommended by Plan S. Additionally, many other features are missing compared to the usual basics of open access journals; you can find more at , for instance. For the proposal to be viable, you also need a comparison to the other dozens of publishing platform existing out there, which were helpfully surveyed by the recent . Then, after you have completed the list of requirements (which I expect will grow at least tenfold compared to what you currently have), someone will need to estimate the costs of the implementation. Good luck, Nemo 11:04, 28 August 2019 (UTC)

Thank you. I totally agree that there are lots of additional features that would be valuable, though there are likely multiple different development levels that are viable. The currently systems implemented in the WikiJournal User Group, PLOS topic pages are functional but clearly suboptimal (I understand that Gene Wiki reviews and RNA Biology partner pages are just written in word and copied over). You can see an earlier estimate of Plan_S compliance here (though that these were before the May revision, so a few now differ a little). We totally welcome input on various aspects if you have ideas for key features through. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 04:44, 31 August 2019 (UTC)
I have just provided a list of key features. It doesn't matter what's my opinion, it's about what the expected audience of the project needs. Nemo 06:58, 2 September 2019 (UTC)

I've just had a quick call with Ilana Fried and Moriel Schottlender from the WMF product and engineering teams. My take home is that many of the highest-priority items are relatively feasible (some via already-approved extensions, some via lightweight gadgets and tools). A default CC-BY license would have to be run past WMF legal. A few items will need larger extensions (e.g. interacting with any external API), and a couple may need outside tools to plug in (e.g. reviewers being able to reveal identities to select users, or anything that requires actions after specific delays). The main item that poses a genuine technical challenge is parsing from language to language, however import/export is relatively achievable if relatively consistent article structure and if last 5% of import can be manually tweaked afterwards. This is also a feature that is being worked on for other projects. Annotating the history (other than in the edit summary) is also very difficult. The easier items my be appropriate for hackathons or the mentoring program if sufficient information, use-case and examples are given, and in general. The next steps are to put together more detailed and specific information on the top items (probably in phabricator). T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 13:21, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

The WMF is not very good at budgeting the costs of development for new sister projects, see for instance the spectacular debacle of the mw:Wikivoyage migration which probably ended up costing a few millions although the initial budget was something like 100 k$.
I would recommend to discuss a list of necessary features with a working group of people with experience of running fully open access journals and developing an open access publishing platform (there are suggestions at ), and to ask an estimate of costs from experienced MediaWiki consultants like WikiWorks and HalloWelt to have at least an order of magnitude. Nemo 17:27, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
@Nemo bis: How on Earth would migrating an existing wiki community cost USD$3M+??? $100k over the course of five months sounds reasonable--I could imagine $250k over eight months or even $500k if there were special concerns for map functionality. I cannot fathom millions of dollars. Where are you getting this estimate? What kind of factors made this so wildly expensive? —Justin (koavf)TCM 17:40, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Simple, if a few engineers have to work on configuration and extension development the costs quickly add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per month, and given such a thing doesn't happen overnight you need to multiply it by a few months. Alternatively you can under-budget the job and end up doing it five times instead of one, as happened with the book tool replacement. Nemo 17:52, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
@Nemo bis: Again, do you have a source for this other than your own personal accounting? Your explanation seems plausible but I don't have any documentation for this, do you? —Justin (koavf)TCM 17:56, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
The documentation is in Phabricator and in the mw:Category:Wikimedia engineering reports, where you can see the official version of the facts (main development from October 2012 to January 2013 with a team of at least 5 persons, closed by the announcement of GeoData. In reality, however, the development of the Wikivoyage-specific extensions continued for months (or years) outside of officially budgeted projects.
Wikimedia Foundation has now canceled all the reporting about its activities, in order to make it inscrutable for community members (see Wikimedia Foundation transparency gap), and I doubt they have any serious internal replacement either, which explains why it's simply impossible for them to estimate the cost of such projects. (There is no baseline, nor a way to measure it, and they have no experience doing it.) Don't expect any official "accounting" to exist for the costs of projects.
Intuitively, if you look at the list of features above you can find 30 requested features. Forget for a moment that they would probably need to be at least three times as many, if you look at the resources I linked above which map the features needed for a basic publishing platform. Be charitable and assume the WMF employees mentioned above are right in their assessment that each of those features is rather small, say comparable to a Community Wishlist Survey item. According to Community Tech/Status report - 2018, about ten such items can be solved per year by a team of 5 (the team is currently 7 persons strong, but they probably didn't work 100 % of the year on this). The current annual plan implies an average cost per headcount of about 160 k$ (take for instance 9.2 M$ of "platform" work and divide by 59.38 FTE, or divide the expected increase in expenses of some 18.6 M$ by the corresponding increase of 109 FTE). So a baseline scenario for the wishlist provided above and the optimistic assessment of two WMF employees would be 160 k$ * 5 * 3 = 2.4 M$.
More conservatively, multiply the number of features by three, increase the average difficulty by at least 50 % because it's a new kind of job for MediaWiki, take the cost of an entire team like Community Tech as baseline, add 20 % of overhead for the team being so large, and you end up with 160 k$ * 7 * 9 * 1.2 * 1.5 = 18 M$. I didn't expect it but this number is quite similar to what PLOS spent, which confirms it may be realistic. However, a more rigorous costing process is needed, hence my suggestion above. Nemo 18:28, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
@Nemo bis: Thank you for this very thorough response to me as well as the sober-minded feedback that this proposal needs. Very helpful as always. —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:42, 1 October 2019 (UTC)


A phabricator project is now set up at this link to accompany (and likely eventually replace) the wishlist table. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 01:50, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

Sociology and all that ....[edit]

We really need bottom-up approaches to the creation and dissemination of scholarly knowledge (*not* just by "academics") ....Decisions are made by corporate publisher managers who have no contact with authors or readers.... the "publisher-academic complex values reputation rather than knowledge) and neocolonialist. It's anglophone and discriminates against the Global South.

Petermr, a few questions:-

  1. Do you have any academic credentials in history/sociology? (Major/Honors/Minor .....)
    Have you pursued any form/kind of scholarship (not activism) in the field of postcolonial/subaltern studies/similar domains?
  2. Can you provide a few high-quality-sources that elucidate upon how precisely the potential creation of new journals (primarily in English) with a radically transparent but traditional peer-review-model subject to academics trained in the western pedagogy, can fight anglophone dominance (and neocolonialism) in academia whilst simultaneously ushering in the concept of bottom-up approaches and Southern theory?
    As someone who personally knows at-least 4 of the folks mentioned over here and follows the developments in the postcolonial genre quite keenly, I am highly interested in knowing the answer to the above question, notwithstanding my own objections to certain radical stuff of the relatively newish frameworks.
  3. Can you provide a few high-quality-sources (or a single review paper) that provides near-conclusive proof (with high statistical rigor) and elucidates upon the overall prioritization of reputation over knowledge, in the varied forms of publishing, that exists currently? I admit my ignorance (sans random anecdotal observations) in the area but read this a couple of months back, which despite some difference in context, did not paint a black and white picture. Also, did you get the word publisher-academic-complex from a WMF PPT of about a few years back? The word seems to have zero GHits otherwise :-(
  4. Also, why do you expect that a random Tom, Dick and Harry who has never been to a relevant scholarly institution shall stand a chance to write any sane and novel stuff about advanced micro-fluid dynamics or affine spaces or directed evolution?
    The only sparse contribution from non-academics is seen by certain (IMO, prodigial) folks in niche areas of social-sciences; examples include Manoranjan Byapari et al. Do you allude to more mainstreaming of such folks and discovering them, by your statement?
    This de-evaluation of academic degrees seem to be the newest fascination of certain postcolonial scholar-activists -- anybody and everybody is a scholar esp. when you cross-couple the postmodern concept of multiple truths. I have not much fascination for such extra-vagancies in a post-truth world and my reply roughly aligns with this thread by a reputed faculty-historian. Where do you stand?
  5. Why do you feel that a reader shall be consulted while publishing scholarly works? Anybody who is currently working in the fields of Hindutva or Indian History will tell you that not pandering to a right-nationalist-Muslim-bashing-version-of-history (which's the majority's definition of post-colonial/post-Islamic scholarship) can get you lynched in public.
    Under such polarized circumstances, if some journal/book editor decides to pick a random reader from the national populace and inquire about whether he will like to read works by Thapar, a highly acclaimed historian or Rajaram, an engineer-turned-nutjob-turned-fraud, the former won't stand a chance. So, how to proceed -- junk Thapar, since she does not sell among the readers? After-all, readers shall control the production and dissemination of knowledge, in some manner, in your proposed utopia. Comments, please.
  6. Overall, can you kindly comment on any two of these three papers/articles:- [ 1 / 2 / 3 ] in light of the quoted statement?
  7. can you kindly comment on the relevant chapters/portions of this book and this article in light of the quoted statement? Winged Blades of Godric (talk) 19:53, 26 August 2019 (UTC)

Separation of real name and username[edit]

This has probably been covered elsewhere so please point me in the right direction if you know where I should look. What if I want to submit a wikipaper with my real name, but I don't want me username to be associated with it? Pelirojopajaro (talk) 14:33, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

That's probably covered by three items in Wikimedia & Wikipedia's guidelines:
  1. WP:VALIDALT - A person editing an article that is highly controversial within their family, social or professional circle, and whose Wikipedia identity is known within that circle, or traceable to their real-world identity, may wish to use an alternative account to avoid real-world consequences from their editing or other Wikipedia actions in that area and ...should not be used in ways outlined in the inappropriate uses section of this page, and if it is, the account may be publicly linked to your main account for sanctions
  2. Help:Unified login - Users can still have differently named accounts on two sites
  3. WP:ALTACCN - consider notifying a checkuser or members of the arbitration committee if they believe editing will attract scrutiny
However, I'm not an expert in their interpretation. That being said, I think the above guidelines likely support limited use of a separate single-purpose, real-name account distinct from an existing pseudonymous account to avoid privacy or outing concerns so long as the user diligently refrains from anything listed at w:WP:ILLEGIT. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 02:22, 29 August 2019 (UTC)


How much is the anticipated funding for WJ if it exists as a sister project? Is there any break-down of budgetary requirements? Hazy memory that I've seen a figure of $1 million for just one aspect of it but that sounds ludicrous. - Sitush (talk) 23:05, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

I assume you're talking about this comment here? It seems to have been somewhat over-interpreted by subsequent discussions. No specific amount of money has been requested currently (aside from the previous 5 years of spending here). The crux of the application other than the actual web hosting space is the technical features wishlist, where items are being ordered by priority and by feasibility (still gathering input on how much work different parts would be). The amount of money asked for would depend on, with multiple different price-points being viable depending on which sets of items included. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 12:29, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
Sitush, for comparison, PLOS canceled development of Aperta, its planned publishing platform, and wrote off 11.1 M$ it had spent on the project. The European Commission has a tender for an open research platform with a base price of 73 M€. These are the amounts we're usually talking about in this sector. Nemo 14:49, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
The main discussion about technical requirements is at #Next steps: 'technical requirements' v2: updated and prioritised list by the way. Nemo 17:30, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

Proposal from 2011 on Wikimedia Strategic Planning[edit]

I do not see this posted anywhere else here but there was a similar proposal to this, much less developed, in 2011. This might have been missed because it was on the weird "Wikimedia Strategic Planning" website and not findable through any conventional search.

There are some differences in the proposal here as compared to WikiJournal. However, I think this prior proposal demonstrates a long history of discussion for the ideas in this proposal Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:01, 5 September 2019 (UTC)

Yes, it's interesting how often the idea has come up at least back to 2008. There has also been a pair of related pages over at Wikipedia w:WP:J2W and w:WP:W2J since 2012 (which I just noticed weren't on the list of 'Former proposals with similar scope', so have added to the list). Previous on-wiki solutions have never quite hit critical mass. I think there has been a need for a while, but there's been high initial activation energy barriers that have now been surmounted by organisation (editorial guidelines, publication ethics, article processing etc) and infrastructure (even organising crossref, issn, doaj, cope etc applications). I think this project has the momentum needed to spark the content-user-reputation wiki cycle. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 12:41, 9 September 2019 (UTC)

Handling government censorship[edit]

While other independent/major-publishing houses' journals typically will not be censored, WikiJournal will inherit all the consequences for being associated with Wikipedia and WMF, which unfortunately includes complete blocks from accessing it in certain countries (e.g. China, Iran, Turkey). Take China as an example, English Wikipedia has been blocked by the Chinese government since April.[1] Even other WMF projects have been temporarily blocked or censored in May: Meta[2] and Commons.[3]

While the current journal is hosted by Wikiversity and currently not blocked by the Chinese government,[4] such blocks are usually discreet and sudden. When blocks are in place, they will disproportionately affect various WikiJournal participants and users (authors, editorial board members, reviewers and readers). WikiJournal of Humanities is more susceptible to this than Science and Medicine due to its scope, but it has been shown in the past that governments will censor access to articles that they deem as taboo.[5] We need to create a long-term plan to address this issue and possible bias when they are excluded. How can we tackle these challenges? OhanaUnitedTalk page 02:49, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

Very good point. Something that we might need to reach out and consult others on advice on how (and how not) to handle it. I'd be interested in the reactions from other non-wp wiki communities as well as academic journals that have been censored. My initial thoughts are:
  1. We would obviously refuse censorship requests, (I know that Cambridge University Press got into a very compromised position with China Quarterly [6][7])
  2. If they choose to extended block the whole site (since it'd be https) then we could possibly mass-mirror works by depositing into OA repositories as well as publicise the block.
The near-random short blocks of the non-wp sister projects means that it may be worth setting up some automated daily checks. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 11:12, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
I would suggest that we at the least have a means of tracking this. It will also be important not to end up on any of the lists of shady journals that are out there. It seems China in particular is going down hard on journals, see here, but this is also a reason for our independance. We can make the case that we are a peer reviewed outlet that should be viewed separately for this issue. After all many of the bans on WP and WMF are political more than anything else. Cheers Scott Thomson (Faendalimas) talk 02:17, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
I just want to raised an issue related to the above and specific to China. The major publishers - certainly Elsevier and Wiley - have offices in China and I have experienced censorship with a journal - International Journal of Nursing Sciences - which is managed through the Beijing office of Elsevier. A manuscript I co-authored with Taiwanese colleagues was held up and we were requested not to use 'Taiwan' in the byline for my colleagues (I think 'China' was requested or perhaps 'ROC') and we were asked not to refer to participants in the study as 'Taiwanese' presumably on the grounds that they were considered to be 'Chinese'. My colleagues withdrew the manuscript. Therefore, if a Wiki Journal publishes articles from Taiwan or mentioning 'Taiwanese' then it may be blocked. Rwatson1955 (talk) 11:27, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
On the flip side, recently I have learned that US-imposed sanctions on some countries create problems for submissions by the authors who reside in these countries.[8][9] Since WMF is located in the US, it will have to comply with sanctions imposed by the US government even though many of us do not reside in the US. We have to be mindful of the conditions required after accepting a manuscript (Elsevier has a good summary written in lay language[10]). OhanaUnitedTalk page 13:59, 26 September 2019 (UTC)

Being a publisher[edit]

I feel like some people grossly underestimate what it would mean to turn WMF into a publisher. The entire castle of the Wikimedia projects rests on WMF being a mere hosting provider. Let's assume WMF legal finds some legal loophole to allow WMF to run journals without making our entire legal structure collapse, are you sure you're fine with the consequences? Read a bit. After w:en:WP:FRAM, how would you feel about the WMF ED being responsible to handle author bans and the like when, inevitably, some article will become controversial? Nemo 07:02, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

I think it is definitely important for the WMF to remain a hosting platform, not a publisher, for their legal structure to work. For the three WikiJournal_of_XYZ journals, the publisher is the WikiJournal User Group (802511-9275). Similarly it is the WikiJournal User Group that has a specific set of publication ethics that participants agree to. If other journals started to use the platform, they'd either have established publishers (e.g. PLOS), or set up new publishing groups. Retractionwatch is a great resource (though I do wish that the data was on wikidata) and long with COPE's flowcharts and case studies, provides very useful information on how to handle publishing issues. In addition to the current guidelines in place for handling retractions within the WikiJournal User Group ethics statement, it will definitely be useful to explore more detailed ways of handling crossmark-registered versioning for both article updates and corrections (example). T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 05:04, 24 September 2019 (UTC)
If the idea is to keep a distinction between "WikiJournal the hosting service" (run by Wikimedia Foundation) and "WikiJournal the publisher", you will need a lot of effort to uphold it. At a minimum, you'd need to show that the hosting service is used by other publishers as well. Is there anyone else? Nemo 14:43, 30 September 2019 (UTC)

Cover letter submitted[edit]

Copied from this page

The proposal cover letter has now been submitted to the WMF board of trustees along with the five letters of support (link). The pageviews and discussion looks like it has plateaued, with two spikes corresponding to dissemination events listed here. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 02:03, 26 September 2019 (UTC)

Is there a copy of the letter which I can read without enabling proprietary JavaScript? If the Wikimedia Commons formats do not suit the content, you can use or to host a copy. Thank you, Nemo 14:44, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
Unfortunately the letters of support include logos, so I don't think it can be released under a creative commons license. Would a dropbox, onedrive or gdrive share link work for you? T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 08:37, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
@Evolution and evolvability: Copyright is not the same as trademark. You can have a freely-licensed piece of work that includes the Golden Arches or Swoosh. —Justin (koavf)TCM 10:07, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
In that case if I was being overly-cautious, I've put it up on commons for now at File:Sister Project application for Wikimedia Journals (combined).pdf. I imagine if there are any issues on their end they'll contact me pretty swiftly. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 02:02, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

The WMF board has confirmed that they have received the application and will be discussing it at their next in person meeting Feb 11th and 12th of 2020. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 08:38, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

@Evolution and evolvability: What is your source for this information? —Justin (koavf)TCM 10:07, 13 October 2019 (UTC) emailed to ask for the cover letter to be sent to the WMF board of trustees (from what I can see the board email is not public knowledge) and one of the board members emailed back stating that the 2020-02-11/12 date was when the next discussion would be held. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 11:03, 13 October 2019 (UTC)