17 July 2006

TOPAZ Tarnished

I've written approvingly of PLoS ONE before, and it's also good to see that the underlying software platform will be open source. But I was disappointed to read this post calling for some "help to shape the future":


Now is your chance to get very actively involved in the creation of TOPAZ, the new Open Source publishing platform which PLoS is involved in developing and which will be supporting PLoS ONE when it launches. What we need is some people in the San Francisco area who would be willing to be on a focus group to give us some advice on the feel and functionality that you would like to see. It is a great project and we really do want your views.

Surely a global perspective is absolutely critical to what PLoS ONE is trying to achieve? So limiting focus groups to a very particular part of the anglophone world seems foolish, to say the least.

And it's not as if there aren't other ways that this could be done, taking input from all around the world. For example, I've heard this thing called "The Internet" can be quite handy in these circumstances....

4 comments:

Pedro Beltrão said...

I agree. I don't understand very well why they could not have a more open test in the beginning. Maybe they want to have it under wraps while they figure out the details of the core engine and later work on more features as they go along.

glyn moody said...

Well, given that the project is open source, I can't see any secret sauce that they're hiding. Frankly, I think it's just being slightly parochial - something they will need to watch out for if they want ONE to realise its undoubted potential.

Chris Surridge said...

What can I say but I'm sorry. The TOPAZ developers need some people to talk to about stuff and there isn't a very effective way to do a distributive conference. Face to face works best still. These aren't the only opinions that we need and we are not hiding source or anything like that, it's just a probem of practicality. If we are being parochial what is our solution?

glyn moody said...

Sorry, Chris, I didn't mean to be mean, but I felt it needed saying. So, in the spirit of trying to be helpful:

Instead of telling people what you're doing because you can't do anything else, why not explain what you want to do...and ask people to come up with suggestions on how to do it? You know, harness all that collective intelligence that is surely part of the point about PLoS ONE....