Mastodon Single Source Publishing Community | Axel Dürkop

Single Source Publishing Community

Co-Initiator | since 2021

Logo of the community, © 2021 Albert Krewinkel, CC BY-SA

How it started

In the project “Modern Publishing”, which was funded from April 2019 to the end of 2020 in the Hamburg Open Science program, our team got to know a lot of players from libraries, publishers and other third-party funded projects. Many of them were dealing with similar challenges as we were: How can we meet the requirements of digital publications with clever workflows and automations? How can we create several output formats for the publication, e.g. PDF, HTML or best of all: JATS/XML, from as single a source format of the text corpus as possible?


We have learned a lot from each other in this network and at the end of the project we thought that we would like to keep this up, even if we no longer receive funding and the project results would disappear in the drawers of the universities, as so often happens in externally funded projects. These drawers are freely accessible, because we have put our results in source code on the web for further use. Nevertheless, we lack the concrete possibility to continue working on our technology stack and to pass on our experiences in exchange with others and to learn from others in turn.


After our well-attended and successful workshops at the OA Days and in the Open Access Week 2020, we have considered to establish a digital place of exchange, where people interested in the topic of single-source publishing can make contacts, learn from each other and possibly new projects. It happened that the esteemed colleague Simon Worthington from TIB Hannover/Open Science Lab joined us at the Open Science Barcamp 2021. Michael Geuenich from ZB MED, who was in the process of planning a workshop for the fall, made the suggestion to join forces, whereupon we worked together on the idea of a community and the workshop.

“Creativity comes from applying things you learn in other fields to the field you work in.” – Aaron Swartz

With Albert Krewinkel, pandoc maintainer and developer on our Modern Publishing team, we initially tried to set up a Discourse forum for the community. But since we all shied away from the adminstrative effort of Discourse, it eventually became a GitHub project on Albert’s idea, in which we plan to use the discussion feature. For our mailing list we got generous support from the Chaotikum in Lübeck.

Core elements of the community

We want to get our network excited about the idea of a Single Source Publishing Community with a kick-off workshop in October 2021. Key elements are to be introductory workshops e.g. in the use of GitHub and GitLab, e.g. a Fork & Pull Request Party. With a series of regular Show & Tell sessions around lunchtime, we want to give all interested parties the opportunity to present their projects to the community.

Collaborate more, compete less!

We are curious to see how this project develops. The feedback to our first wave of invitations was numerous, so we assume that there is a shared interest. It would be great if our idea inspires less competition and more collaboration. After all, given the power of large publishers, science is increasingly faced with the challenge of either accepting their rules or becoming more independent in the area of publishing. Together, we think, this will be more successful.