At our latest Digital Research Community monthly discussion meeting we heard from Octopus, an open platform where researchers can read, review and register ideas and findings at all stages of the research lifecycle. Jisc is collaborating with Octopus’ creator, Dr Alex Freeman, to build the platform, working in partnership with the UK Reproducibility Network and with a grant from Research England.
Lola Harre, the Product Manager for Octopus gave an overview of the platform which was followed by a lively discussion. Examples of discussion points included:
- Octopus is a quicker, easier, and more open way of publishing one’s research.
- It aims to be a fairer and more meritocratic system.
- Moves away from the concept of the traditional journal paper, instead having 8 publication units which more closely align with the stages of the scientific process, each with their own DOI. These are: problem, hypothesis, method, data, analysis, interpretation, real world impact, and peer review.
- The platform also aims to reduce bureaucracy, bringing together several elements which are currently served by different tools for different stages of the research process.
- The benefits will have to be clear to encourage researchers to adopt a new platform.
- The idea of recording a project from the beginning in an open way has not been embraced in all disciplines and we need to find ways to work with different communities to address this.
- Researchers need to be encouraged to link to larger datasets stored elsewhere to ensure a complete research record.
(Authors creating a new publication on Octopus will have the option to link to other content as references and/or supporting materials. The intention is that e.g. a DOI lookup would be pulling key metadata from the linked publications and displaying this on the Octopus publication page).
- Octopus will integrate closely with ORCID: Octopus users will need an ORCID account to login, and information will be shared between the two accounts (e.g. affiliation details on ORCID will appear on a user’s Octopus account, and Octopus publications will appear on ORCID). Octopus will also align with Datacite metadata, with DOIs minted for each publication.
- Suggestions for further integrations included CRIS systems (Pure, Symplectic) and repository platform (Eprints, Dspace).
We also discussed how moving away from traditional publishing structures could have implications for what researchers can submit to any future REF. The aim is that Octopus output types would integrate with existing research systems and processes, counting towards the REF and aligning with funder compliance measures like the UKRI open access policy. The Octopus team are in discussions with relevant stakeholders to help achieve this.
If the project sounds relevant, do consider sharing it with your researchers. The project is about to commence user testing and would value their input.
The Octopus user community provides regular updates and demos of the platform as it developers and is also where we schedule and share user testing sessions.
Register to join the community: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/get-involved/octopus-user-community
See here for more information about the Digital Research Community and how to join it.