When we launched ScienceOpen in 2013, the word of the year was “selfie,” beating out bitcoin and binge-watching. In scholarly publishing, however, 2013 was defined by the “megajournal.” The growing acceptance of Open Access models was accompanied by a growing realization that digital meant more than a pdf on a website. Megajournals such as PlosOne, PeerJ, F1000 Research, and Scientific Reports that went beyond the traditional topical focus and structure of the journal were launching or reaching their peak. In light of the wild success of Web 2.0 user-generated content and reviews at companies like Wikipedia, Amazon and YouTube, the standard peer review process seemed antiquated and out of touch.
Back in 2013, we set out to rethink the scholarly publishing workflow in a completely digital context. The model co-founders Alexander Grossmann, Tibor Tscheke and I came up with was based on the megajournal with a unique public peer review workflow – some features were a big success, others were discarded but we have stayed true to our goals from 2013: “We are committed to Open Science. We believe that free access to knowledge drives creativity, innovation and development. It starts a conversation and stimulates collaboration, discussion and dissent. Our mission is to facilitate open and public communication between academics and to allow ideas to be judged on their merit, regardless of where they come from – open, transparent and fair.”
Step by step towards groundbreaking digital publishing
What began as a “megajournal” has become an increasingly sophisticated discovery environment with over 86 million records for journal articles, books, chapters, conference outputs, reports and more. ScienceOpen offers a free interactive interface for researchers to share, recommend, review and highlight research that is important to them. Our business model has shifted to providing a range of technology services to academic publishers, societies, libraries, research groups, funded projects and more. We always saw ourselves as an information hub so we were early adopters of ORCID and immediately joined Crossref to deposit DOIs. We also worked early on with the Altmetric team at Digital Science and Unpaywall from OurResearch and more recently with ReviewerCredits. We have further added ROR and Fundref as persistent identifiers, promoted RRIDs and implemented SciScore scientific rigor checks.
We can help increase the discoverability and visibility of journals and books within our portal and beyond; we can provide support with metadata and managing DOIs; we offer full open access hosting for journals and books; and we have a complete suite of publishing solutions with fully open peer review or a more traditional blinded workflow. We also work on large technology projects such as the BMBF funded BookMetaHub and the EU funded Drug Repurposing Central for REPO4EU.
We have come a long way since that first selfie, so it was fantastic to celebrate ten years in Berlin with current and former ScienceOpen team members, partners, customers, and supporters.
We have had the pleasure and honour of working with established and well-known publishers who have inspired us a lot over the last decade, including EDP Sciences, Emerald Publishing, Annual Reviews, Hogrefe, Karger Publishers, BMJ, Cold Spring Harbor, De Gruyter, Brill, Thieme, IET, Pluto Journals, American Psychological Association, JMIR, Peter Lang, Akadémiai Kiadó, Jaypee, and Bioscientifica. We have also worked with the open access start-up crowd, making collections for PLOS, PeerJ, Open Library of Humanities, SciPost, Pensoft / Arpha, SciELO, Dove Medical Press, Future Science, Impact, Compuscript and AfricArXiv.
Having first moved away from publishing ourselves after our first experiments with open, post-publication peer review, we are particularly proud of the open access journals now publishing on ScienceOpen – some even carrying on our vision for open peer review such as the UCL Open: Environment, Journal of Systems Thinking and the forthcoming journals New Psychiatry, Airbursts and Cratering Impacts. The new Journal of Disability Research by the King Salman Center for Disability Research is developing into a very attractive and lively publication. We would also like to highlight some exciting projects out of Africa including the Wits Journal of Clinical Medicine, the Nigerian Journal of Tropical Engineering, the African Journal of Engineering and Technology, Nano-Horizons by UNISA Press. On ScienceOpen Research, we have published over 800 preprints and 600 posters. However, the true work of academic publishing is the quality control provided by peer review, so we raise a glass to every editor and reviewer out there.
We have long believed that societies can provide the topical expertise that is essential for effective peer review and are proud to have worked with the Microbiology Society, the Genetics Society of America (GSA), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Water Works Association (AWWA), International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), the Association of European University Presses (AEUP), the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP).
University Presses and library publishing are also hubs of innovation and are some of our main customers. We have greatly enjoyed working with University College London (UCL) Press, Amsterdam University Press, Wits University Press, University of South Africa (UNISA) Press, Buckingham University Press, Michigan Publishing, Radboud University Press, Edinburgh University Press, Leiden University Press, University of Westminster Press, University of Maribor Press, The Rachel Carson Center at University of Munich, Germany, Sunway University Press, Marine Corps University Press, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Bauchi Nigeria, Huddersfield University Press, Liverpool University Press, Vilnius University Press, Bristol University Press, UUM Press, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Jülich Research Center, Humboldt University Berlin, Tsinghua University, Ocean University of China, Paul Drude Institute Berlin.
ScienceOpen would not be able to ride the wave of adapting to such a rapidly changing digital environment without the assistance of all the editors and researchers who use our tools and services to support scholarly conversation and the promotion of academic excellence. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all our editors who engage various researcher communities on our platform. Researcher collections on ScienceOpen cover various disciplines, ranging from research on Ticks and tick-borne pathogens by Agustín Estrada Peña, to Renewable Energy by Christoph von Friedeburg, Point-of-Care Testing for Infectious Diseases, and the role of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease by Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology and Medicine Barry Marshall.
I would like to personally thank each and every partner, customer, editor and member of ScienceOpen – everyone who gave us a chance, gave us some feedback and helped us to grow.
I hope you will continue to support us as we embark on the next decade of Open Science with ScienceOpen. Cheers!