- Phoros project github repositories: http://phoros.github.io/
- Phoros project test site: http://beta.hpcc.uh.edu/phoros/
Think there's a little momentum behind markdown lately?
This article from Mashable is already half a year old, and lists seventy-eight (78!) tools for "writing and previewing markdown"! And its topic doesn't even extend to some of the very interesting services that use markdown, like leanpub and draft, or any of the numerous markdown-to-slideshow toolkits out there...
I'm convinced enough that I've just completed an initial version of a tool for working with markdown extended to allow citation using canonical URN values, and converting the source to generic markdown that any of these tools can process. When I've polished the docs a little more, I'll post here with further notes on markdown and its increasing importance for scholarly work.
Scholarly publication involves more than just making work accessible. When scholars publish, they are contributing their work to the collective endeavor of the entire scholarly community. In order for other scholars to inspect, critique, and build upon published scholarship, it must be appropriately:
Unlike many of my colleagues and friends in Classics Departments around the US and abroad, I will not be travelling to Chicago this week for the annual meeting of the American Philological Association. The APA continues to accept donations to a recently completed capital campaign with the goal of supporting a digital "Center for Classics Research and Teaching." (See the description here.) The APA claims that its center will "make high quality information about the Classical World available in accessible formats to the largest possible audience by using technology in new and exciting ways," but has never clearly addressed the fact that, as proposed, the center will include material for APA members only.
Like Elsevier and some other distributors, in other words, the APA wants to control who can read scholarly work as part of its "business model." Like Elsevier, the APA leadership is doubtless sincere in its belief that its "business model" is paramount. But like Elsevier, the APA winds up in a Wonderland, where, with Humpty Dumpty, we can make words mean whatever we choose. The idea that closed-access material could be available to "the largest possible audience" is ludicrous. In 2012, over a billion IPv4 addresses were in use, and, while difficult to estimate, the number of individual internet users is certainly much higher. It must exceed the APA's membership by at least six orders of magnitude. (That is, the number of internet users is surely at least 100,000 times greater than the number of APA members.)
More simply, like Elsevier, the APA's plan privatizes scholarly work that should be published. In criticizing Elsevier's business practices, I argued that
Scholarly publication in a digital world means that a work is openly accessible for others to inspect, critique, and build upon, and we should insist that in reviews for tenure and promotion, only scholarly publications meeting this definition qualify as published work.
If you were shocked that Elsevier has apparently issued a takedown notice to the University of Calgary, you should consider auditioning for Claude Rains' role in Casablanca. Elsevier has never hidden the fact that its business model depends on restricting access to scholarly work. Alicia Wise of Elsevier responds to the post linked above with this question:
the business model is based largely on paid access post-publication, and if freely accessible on a large scale what library will continue to subscribe?
I recently stumbled across an interview with the very articulate Astronomer Royal Martin Reese that included this observation:
But the aim of science is to unify disparate ideas, so we don't need to remember them all. I mean we don't need to record the fall of every apple, because Newton told us they all fall the same way.