Introduction and Background

Despite significant advances in most forms of publishing, from blogs to news sites and other user-generated web content, the process of authoring scholarly articles remains an expensive, time-consuming process that can require significant up-front investment and technical expertise. While a number of electronic publishing and workflow management systems exist, those intended for the scientific publishing (SP) community provide at best only rudimentary authoring tools – and in many cases simply provide a repository for document files created in other formats. It is as if the entire revolution in online, web-based content authoring tools has passed by the SP community. And despite the development of advanced document formats such as the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) journal article publishing tag set, virtually no current system allows scientific authors to easily create structured XML documents  using simple web-based tools.

Project Objectives

  1. Develop a simple, robust, easy-to-use authoring system to create and edit scholarly articles
  2. Deliver an editorial review and publishing system that can be used to submit, review, and publish scholarly articles

Project Approach

Modern platforms such as WordPress provide a model for a successful eJournal authoring platform – WordPress is extremely simple to set up and run, with rich, user-friendly web-based editing controls and easily-extended functionality using plugins. The WordPress platform not only provides free and open access to source code, with a diverse and productive ‘ecosystem’ of developers for themes, plugins, and extensions, but also numerous cheap or free hosting opportunities for technical and non-technical users alike.

However, WordPress is missing some key SP requirements:

  • Support for multiple authors, article review workflow, and version comparison
  • Scholarly features such as citations, equations, and controlled document structure (headings, lists of figures/equations/tables)
  • Export to and import from the NLM/PubMed Journal Article DTD and other structured formats
Annotum will build upon the WordPress platform as a foundation, filling in the gaps by providing the following additional features:
  • Rich, web-based authoring and editing:
    • “What you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) authoring with rich toolset (equations, figures, tables, citations and references)
    • coauthoring, comments, version tracking, and revision comparisons
  • Multiple import and export formats
    • Export to PDF and XML formats
    • Import XML and WXR formats for “round-tripping” of content
    • Articles can be cited, exported, imported across systems/sites
  • Simple editorial workflow for authoring and reviewer/editor approval
  • Features specific to scholarly publishing:
    • Equations, figures, tables
    • References including citation search features
    • Auto-generation and registration of CrossRef DOIs

For more information about Annotum, feel free to leave a comment below, or contact us via the discussion list or code repository.

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