Metajournals. A federalist proposal for scholarly communication and data aggregation


  • Maria Chiara Pievatolo University of Pisa



Abstract   While the EU is building an open access infrastructure of archives (e.g., Openaire) and it is trying to implement it in the Horizon 2020 program, the gap between the tools and the human beings – researchers, citizen scientists, students, ordinary people – is still wide. The necessity to dictate open access publishing as a mandate for the EU funded research – ten years after the BOAI - is an obvious symptom of it: there is a chasm between the net and the public use of reason. To escalate the advancement and the reuse of research, we should federate the multitude of already existing open access journals in federal open overlay journals that receive their contents from the member journals and boost it with their aggregation power and their semantic web tools.

The article contains both the theoretical basis and the guidelines for a project whose goals are:

  1. making open access journals visible, highly cited and powerful, by federating them into wide disciplinary overlay journals;
  2.  avoiding the traps of the “authors pay” open access business model, by exploiting one of the virtue of federalism: the federate journals can remain little and affordable, if they gain visibility from the power of the federal overlay journal aggregating them;
  3. enriching the overlay journals both through semantic annotation tools and by means of open platforms dedicated to host ex post peer review and experts comments;
  4. making the selection and evaluation processes and their resulting data as much as possible public and open, to avoid the pitfalls (e.g., the serials price crisis) experienced by the closed access publishing model.

It is about time to free academic publishing from its expensive walled gardens and to put to test the tools that can help us to transform it in one open forest, with one hundred flowers – and one hundred trailblazers.


ARL, Monograph and Serial Expenditures in ARL Libraries, 1986-2006

S. Basso, A. Servetti, J.C. De Martin (2011), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Network Neutrality Bot Test Methodol-ogy, Congresso Aica, Torino,

T. Berners-Lee (2010), Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality, “Scientific American”,

M. Biagioli (2002), From Book Censorship to Academic Peer review. Emergences, 12(1).

M. Boldrin, D.K. Levine (2008), Against Intellectual Monopoly, Cambridge, Cambridge UP

B. Brembs, M. Munafò (2013), Deep Impact: Unintended Con-sequences of Journal Rank,

J.C. Burgelman, D. Osimo, M. Bogdanowicz(2010), Science 2.0 (change will happen...) “First Monday”,

A. Capra (2012), ‘Why Plato Wrote’: The Insularity of Platonic Studies, CHS Reseach Bulletin

G. Cerri (2007), La poetica di Platone: una teoria della comunicazione, Lecce, Argo.

G. Crane(2011), “From Subjects to Citizens in a Global Republic of Let-ters”. In Going Digital. Evolutionary and Revolutionary Aspects of Dig-itization. Ed. by K. Grandin. Nobel Symposium 147. The Nobel Foun-dation, pp. 251-254 forskning/NS147Abstracts/KVAGoingDigitalwebb.pdf.

A. Dash (2012), Rebuilding the Web We Lost, 2012

P.A. David (2007), The Historical Origins of “Open Science”, Stan-ford,

J.L. De Meulemeester (2012) Quels modèles d’université pour quel type de motivation des acteurs? Une vue évolutionniste, “Pyra-mides” (21),

M. Ferraris (2008), “Science of Recording”, in H. Hrachovec and A. Pichler (eds.), Philosophy of the Information Society, Proceedings of the 30th International Ludwig Wittgenstein-Symposium in Kirchberg 2007, Frankfurt/a.M., Ontos Verlag,.

K. Fitzpatrick (2011), Planned Obsolescence. Publishing, Tech-nology, and the Future of the Academy. New York. NYU Press.

L. Floridi (2006) Peering into the Future of the Infosphere. “TidBits”, 1–13

P. Galimberti (2011), I dati sulla ricerca. Un problema aperto, “Roars”

D. Gillies (2011), The Fundamental Flaw in Research Assessment Systems, “Roars”

P. Ginsparg (2004), Can Peer Review be better Focused? “Science & Technology Libraries”, 22 (3-4), pp- 5–17

J.-C. Guédon (2001), In Oldenburg’s Long Shadow: Librarians, Research Scientists, Publishers, and the Control of Scientific Publishing, “Arl Proceedings”,

J.C. Guédon, R. Siemens (2001) The Credibility of Electronic Publishing,

J.C. Guédon (2008), Open Access and the divide between “mainstream” and “peripheral” science,

B. Haslhofer, E. Momeni, M. Gay, R. Simon (2010), Augmenting Europeana Content with Linked Data Resources, 6th International Conference on Semantic Systems (I-Semantics)..

S. Hirschauer, Die Innenwelt des Peer Review. Qualitätszuschreibung und informelle Wissenschaftskommunikation in Fachzeitschriften. Retrieved from

I. Kant, Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung?, Ak VIII

D. Kleiner (2010), The Telekommunist Manifesto. Network Notebooks 03, Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam,

J. Lanier (2010), You Are Not a Gadget, New York: A.A. Knopf.

L. Lessig (2000), Code is Law, “Harvard Magazine”, January-February,

P. Lévy, Cyberculture, Minneapolis, Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2001.

M. Luczak-Rösch, R. Heese, A. Paschke (2010), Future Content Authoring, “Nodilities – The Magazine of the Semantic Web”, Issue 11.

S. Marche (2012), Literature is not Data: Against Digital Humanities, “Los Angeles Review of Books”, October 28th

R. K. Merton (1979), "The Normative Structure of Science" (1942) in id., The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

A. Molinié, G. Bodenhausen (2010), Bibliometrics as Weapons of Mass Citation. La bibliométrie comme arme de citation massive, “CHIMIA”, 64 (1/2),

M. Nucci, M. Grassi, C. Morbidoni, F. Piazza (2012), Enriching Digital Libraries Contents with SemLib Semantic Annotation System, Digital Humanities conference, Hamburg.

E. Pariser (2011), The Filter Bubblie, New York, The Penguin Press,

J. Priem (2013), Beyond the paper, “Nature”, 495 (28 March), pp. 437–440

M. Rose (1988), The Author as Proprietor: Donaldson vs. Becket and the Genealogy of Modern Authorship, “Representations” 23, pp. 51–85.

D. Searls, D. Weinberger(2003), World of Ends. What the Internet Is and How to Stop Mistaking It for Something Else,

V. Uren, P. Cimiano, J. Iria, S. Handschuh, M. Vargas-Vera, E. Motta, and F. Ciravegna (2006), “Semantic annotation for knowledge management: Requirements and a survey of the state of the art”, Web Semantics: Science, Services and Agents on the World Wide Web, Volume 4 Issue 1.