What we read this week (15 February)

Welcome to Things we read this week, a weekly post featuring articles from around the internet recommended by BMJ Labs.

Publishing

In Postcards from a Collective Ecosystem Article 3 Heather Staines and Lisa Hinchliffe discuss if publishers really need platforms or a common infrastructure? I’m always slightly surprised at people’s surprise that large commercial publishers collaborate together given the increasing, number of standards and initiatives that publishers participate in and support. See, for example, the OA Switchboard, a new collaboration designed to enable publishers, academic institutions, and research funders to seamlessly communicate information about open access publications.

Two fairly similar visions of the future were proposed this week including Stern and O’Shea’s “publish first, curate second approach” for the life sciences and Jon Tennant’s vision of how he would like scholarly publishing to develop, which includes the oft discussed question of why can’t you build a journal using GitHub ans Stack Exchange?

Publishing is a complex system and like most complex systems nothing much seems to change until suddenly it does. The shift from curated bundles of subscription journal content towards open access articles is going to shake up academic publishing. Hopefully we wont end up with an all powerful commercial aggregator that calls the shots and mediates what people – see Ben Thompson’s discussion in The Cost of Apple News.

Outside of academic publishing technology is rapidly advancing, Azeem Azhar has a good summary of fuss around OpenAI’s service GPT2, an AI text generator, which the group reckoned was too dangerous to be released publicly. Scroll down to the section called Dept of artificial intelligence. How long will it be before someone submits a journal article written this way and gets it accepted in order to highlight flaws in current publishing systems?

Other links:

Health Tech

The Topol Review on Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future is an interesting glimpse into the near future. Excellent thread on Twitter about the launch event from Andrew Davies.

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