Google gave us Knol (we didn’t need it), now it’s taking it away (meh…), and instead has given us Annotum, something far more useful than Knol was ever going to be. Annotum is a free (as in speech and beer) theme for WordPress that turns a site into an open access publishing platform suited to scholarly journals. It’s more than just a theme though. It comes with several built-in plugins, too, which extend the functionality of WordPress significantly, including the introduction of a new workflow based around peer-review.
When I first read about Annotum this morning, I was both pleased and disappointed. Pleased to see that finally there was a decent attempt to turn WordPress into a journal publishing platform and disappointed that it didn’t come from the academic community itself. We’ve seen the utility of WordPress for scholarly publishing for a few years but never concentrated our efforts enough to actually deliver what Google and partners have done (significantly, the lead Developer, Carl Leubsdorf). Thankfully, Annotum is not only an open source theme for WordPress (and, perhaps more significantly, available to use on WordPress.com right now), but development is also taking place on Github, which is about the most collaborative development environment there is. It’s begging for academic input from developers, publishers, users and tinkerers like myself, with no barriers to participation from what I can see. I’ve made a couple of suggestions to start with. There’s a number of people doing work on scholarly publishing (e.g. #jiscPub, #scholarlyHTML) and I’m sure their work would make Annotum better for all of us.
Yesterday I had another academic ask me if I could help them set up a scholarly journal and so I pointed out the OJS system that I run. To be honest, while OJS is the gold standard for blind peer-reviewed open access scholarly journal publishing, the barriers to entry are high and, well, I agree with this guy. As of today, I’ll be recommending that we look at Annotum before jumping to OJS. I’m pretty sure the response will be positive from my colleagues.
Here’s a presentation from earlier in the year.