[Linux-aus] [LACTTE] Grant application to Linux Australia for Aletheia
Linux Australia President
president at linux.org.au
Sat Jul 8 16:14:51 AEST 2017
Many thanks for your Grant Application for Aletheia.
Council considered this Application at Council Meeting 6th July, and has
respectfully declined the Grant Application. The Council felt that,
although the application was very well written, and the objectives of
Aletheia are very clear, that the problem of paywalled research is
incredibly complex, and cannot be solved with one platform alone,
requiring a broader ecosystem approach. We're also aware of work being
undertaken in the academic and research communities within Australia,
with movements such as open access and open access journals, that is
helping to move the entire ecosystem forward.
Best wishes for Aletheia,
With kind regards,
On 20/06/17 17:27, Kade Morton wrote:
> Hi Rowland,
> More than happy to run through to help the application process.
> We've not yet approached funding bodies outside of technology for a
> few reasons (but will down the track). One reason being it's hard to
> explain a decentralised and distributed database and what it can be
> used for to most people outside of tech, but the main reason is that a
> lot of bodies like NHMRC generally only fund research.
> One researcher we've spoken to was telling us about issues between the
> two main funding bodies in their field, they were working on
> pacemakers. The bio mechanical body rejected them because they felt
> medical devices should be funded by the medical body and the medical
> body rejected them because they felt physical devices should be funded
> by the bio mechanic body. The project (open sourcing pacemaker designs
> to drive down costs) has stalled without funding. NHMRC and the like
> have very narrow criteria for funding, for something like Aletheia to
> even be considered for funding you would need to have the application
> up and running to sway assessors and we aren't at that stage yet.
> When we are though, we will be approaching university libraries (the
> department at the university that bares the paywall cost) to run nodes
> and we're already reaching out to researchers who are vocally
> anti-paywall to generate a small amount of content on the network.
> With some content and university libraries running nodes we can then
> approach funding bodies that otherwise would not have looked at us.
> I agree one of the perpetuating forces of paywalls is that researchers
> need to publish in high impact journals for funding and promotions,
> this is a social problem. Due to their exclusivity though not all
> researchers do publish in high impact journals, and then you have some
> that don't publish in them on principle. That's our target demographic
> to begin with while we socialise our reputation system with the
> community. We've been working Peita Lin, an economic behaviourist who
> used to work on human behaviour in financial events like runs on the
> banks to build our reputation system. Most open access journals have
> the impact problem and because of this people don't often submit to
> them, they don't generate profit (off submission fees) and they go out
> of business. We need plurality in open access and a transparent
> reputation system that shows your complete history is a more
> scientific way of going about rankings than simply throwing around
> high impact names, we think it will appeal to researchers and catch
> on. One of the current academics on our team has our reputation system
> as their niche of the project. Over time we think we can make inroads
> into these problems by popularising this new standard.
> On the single point of failure I don't want to detract from the work
> people do to make sure websites have low downtime but I still think
> this is a big plus we have. We've designed Aletheia under the
> assumption it will be attacked. You install the client which comes
> bundled with a none on your machine, once the network is up and
> running that will mean the network will have nodes in multiple legal
> jurisdictions and to distrupt the network you would need to compromise
> or take down a critical number of nodes. This should be a tall order
> to accomplish. Plus the network is administered by the community
> rather than a central person or body meaning removal of key people
> won't hamper the network.
> Reason we've designed the network this way is it's often not gone well
> for people working in this space. Aaron Swartz was brought up on
> felony charges and Alexandra Elbakyan has an active extradition order
> hanging over her head. Also, it might seem like a stretch that a
> nation state would attempt to attack a scientific journal but I'd
> argue it's not. The current U.S. administration has put out statements
> that they would take down climate science databases and there is
> currently a movement to mirror as much climate data as possible in the
> (unlikely but possible) event this does happen. I spoke to Nick Santos
> who started the climate mirror movement and offered Aletheia as an
> open source, decentralised and distributed mirror once we're on our
> feet. I wholeheartedly appreciate websites can easily be architected
> for high availability, but there isn't a lot that can be done if
> you're served a legal takedown order. Our network is designed with
> that eventuality in mind. This is also our jumping off point for what
> we can offer past academic publishing once we demonstrate the software
> I think the social impact our technical aspects could have are being
> understated as well. Being a DAO and community run it could be that
> Aletheia really takes off with citizen scientists and become a premier
> platform for them. The transparency around funding we have by default
> might spur other open access journals to adopt similar methods. I want
> to stress that we are very eyes wide open to the social norms,
> traditions, rituals and "we've always done it this way" mentality in
> academic publishing and I think we have a strong case to, as I said,
> make inroads into those problems. But also I think we have a strong
> case to at the same time run counter to these social norms and
> practices by providing a vastly different and free service to what's
> out there currently, appeal to the element of the academic community
> that's predisposed to us by being anti-paywall, build our community
> that way. It places us in a strong position to further the existing
> conversation around these social problems, why they exist and what can
> be done about them.
> I wasn't aware of the European Comission's pending decision, the below
> is the news I've had my eye on the last few days:
> Unfortunately I'm quite skeptical about it due to the revenue very
> profitable publishers stand to lose, I imagine there will be heavy
> lobbying to reverse this which is why I'm passionate about open source
> contributing to this issue in a positive way. The current system of
> paywalls was given to us by companies and governments, I don't think
> companies and governments are going to change that system anytime soon
> while it remains as lucrative as it is.
> Kade Morton
>> -------- Original Message --------
>> Subject: Re: [Linux-aus] Grant application to Linux Australia for
>> Local Time: June 19, 2017 10:06 PM
>> UTC Time: June 19, 2017 12:06 PM
>> From: rowland.mosbergen at gmail.com
>> To: Kade Morton <kademorton at protonmail.com>
>> linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au <linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au>,
>> council at linux.org.au <council at linux.org.au>
>> I just saw this on Twitter and thought it would be worth sharing:
>> One of Europe's biggest science spenders could soon branch out into
>> publishing. The European Commission, which spends more than €10
>> billion annually on research, may follow two other big league
>> funders, the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
>> and set up a "publishing platform" for the scientists it funds, in an
>> attempt to accelerate the transition to open-access publishing in Europe.
>> El 19 jun. 2017 17:27, "Rowland Mosbergen"
>> <rowland.mosbergen at gmail.com <mailto:rowland.mosbergen at gmail.com>>
>> Thanks for the feedback Kade.
>> The biggest concern that I see for researchers on a year to year
>> basis is the ability to increase the probability for the NHMRC,
>> ARC and other funding bodies to fund their work. This is directly
>> tied into the papers they publish, where they publish and their
>> citation record (among other things). I think it would be
>> interesting to know how you are approaching the funding bodies
>> and their reactions to your ideas. I think without this your
>> technical fix would not be sustainable.
>> While some of the technical discussions you mentioned I think are
>> interesting technically, in my opinion they aren't even close to
>> the priority that is needed on the same level as the communty
>> For example:
>> * websites can easily be architected for high availability (we
>> do this ourselves),
>> * PlosOne has all it's content protected by CC-BY
>> <http://journals.plos.org/plosone/s/licenses-and-copyright> and
>> * PlosOne has an impact factor (3.057 in 2015
>> Not that Aletheia isn't a cool idea. I just want to ensure that
>> we can tease out the pros and cons to allow the Linux Australia
>> community to work out if this fits into their funding model.
>> Whatever the outcome I think you are raising this issue at the
>> right time as it's a hot topic in research.
>> On Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 4:53 PM, Kade Morton
>> <kademorton at protonmail.com <mailto:kademorton at protonmail.com>> wrote:
>> Hi Rowland,
>> Thanks for the below. We've consulted pretty widely with
>> researchers here in Aus and overseas (two of the people on
>> our team currently publish academic papers in their fields
>> and we're working with a group Jon Tennant is involved with
>> that are publishing a thesis around a better peer review
>> process, our peer review process is going to be build around
>> their findings). If it strengthens the application I can list
>> out the different researchers and groups we've spoken with.
>> I'd contend we do need a technical fix to paywalls along with
>> a community fix and we're looking to address both.
>> F1000Research, PLOS ONE and others are great, even Sci-Hub if
>> you feel adventurous, but I think we have some positives over
>> existing solutions.
>> * Websites are a single point of failure, they can fall
>> over through neglect or malicious actors. Aletheia is a
>> decentralised and distributed database, no single point
>> of failure.
>> * Open access journals and preprint archives can be bought
>> out by larger paywall journals. Aletheia is under a GNU
>> Lesser General Public License v3.0, Elsevier is not
>> buying us.
>> * Open access journals charge for submissions, it's free to
>> submit to Aletheia. We're looking at how the platform can
>> be monetised but it won't be through submission of or
>> access to content.
>> * You can't see what open access journals spend their money
>> on, we publish our financial records.
>> * Open Access journals often die because they don't make
>> profit, we're community run so as long as we have enough
>> community nodes the contents of Aletheia is stored forever.
>> * Open Access journals don't have publishing impact factor.
>> We won't either, but we're building a reputation system
>> based on submitted articles, peer review articles (our
>> platform handles peer review), community participation
>> and some other factors. This transparent reputation score
>> is your contribution academia so we're looking to turn
>> that into publishing impact factor once we are well
>> * The community doesn't have a say in how open access
>> journals are run usually, they are a bit of a block box.
>> The community runs Aletheia as a decentralised autonomous
>> * Open access aren't not open source, you can audit all our
>> code, look at how we are storing papers and data sets, etc.
>> * There has been little innovation in academic publishing
>> since journals were established in the 16th centry. The
>> only real change is the journals now have websites and
>> databases. I think looking at doing something different
>> in this space is worth the effort just for the
>> exploration alone, and I'd rather open source communities
>> do that exploring over corporations because if a better
>> way is hit on it should be open from the start.
>> * A decentralised and distributed database administered as
>> a DAO has applications past scientific publishing, we
>> want to prove it works in this space and then move into
>> other areas.
>> I'm not sure if this covers all your concerns, we have a
>> white paper covering Aletheia's features if you're
>> Kade Morton
>>> -------- Original Message --------
>>> Subject: Re: [Linux-aus] Grant application to Linux
>>> Australia for Aletheia
>>> Local Time: June 19, 2017 3:36 PM
>>> UTC Time: June 19, 2017 5:36 AM
>>> From: rowland.mosbergen at gmail.com
>>> <mailto:rowland.mosbergen at gmail.com>
>>> To: Kade Morton <kademorton at protonmail.com
>>> <mailto:kademorton at protonmail.com>>
>>> linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
>>> <mailto:linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au>
>>> <linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
>>> <mailto:linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au>>, council at linux.org.au
>>> <mailto:council at linux.org.au> <council at linux.org.au
>>> <mailto:council at linux.org.au>>
>>> Hi Kade,
>>> As a person who works with researchers everyday at the
>>> University of Melbourne, the idea of paywalls is a very hot
>>> topic at the moment.
>>> Open access publications such as F1000Research and PLOS ONE
>>> have provided researchers with more choices than ever before.
>>> Yet the big publications can still provide paywalls due to
>>> the way that research funding is granted, based on
>>> publication impact factor. Being able to publish in Nature
>>> gives one an advantage the next time the NHMRC and ARC
>>> grants come around.
>>> In my opinion, the issue around paywalls in research is very
>>> much one that needs a community fix, not a technical fix.
>>> And that fix is going to be a long and complicated journey.
>>> I am unsure how much of this backstory you know or which
>>> researchers you have talked to from a range of disciplines
>>> like Life Sciences, Humanities, Astronomy etc. I would
>>> highly recommend engaging with these researchers if you
>>> don't have those relationships already.
>>> In my opinion, this kind of project would be discussed at a
>>> University and Funding level (eg NHMRC) both nationally and
>>> internationally. I think the technical considerations would
>>> be of a very low priority
>>> Rowland Mosbergen
>>> On Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 2:52 PM, Kade Morton via linux-aus
>>> <linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
>>> <mailto:linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au>> wrote:
>>> I've been asked to resend
>>>> Hi all,
>>>> I wanted to make a grant for the open source project I
>>>> co-founded, Aletheia.
>>>> Project name: Aletheia
>>>> Aim of the project: To provide an alternative to
>>>> publishing scientific research behind paywalls and to
>>>> popularise decentralised autonomous organisations.
>>>> Aletheia is a decentralised and distributed database
>>>> which we're applying to academic publishing. Basically
>>>> a a database that is free to upload to and access from,
>>>> administered by the community as a decentralised
>>>> autonomous organisation. Aletheia would be an
>>>> alternative to publishing research behind paywalls.
>>>> Have a look at our source code here:
>>>> Have a look at our community documentation here:
>>>> Key stages or milestones of the project:
>>>> * Onboarding documents up to standard that newcomers
>>>> can come onto the project, documents hosted on GitHub.
>>>> * Participated in the Mozilla Global Sprint
>>>> * Get application running on Ubuntu
>>>> * Get application running on Mac
>>>> * Cofounder to complete courses through Mozilla to
>>>> help create avenues for Mozilla's continued support
>>>> for Aletheia
>>>> To be Completed
>>>> * Get application running on Windows
>>>> * Finish MVP (aiming for 27th of October 2017)
>>>> * Run presentation about Aletheia and the
>>>> applications of decentralised and open source
>>>> technology in science at MozFest (application made,
>>>> waiting to hear for acceptance, presentation will
>>>> be in London, 27th of October 2017)
>>>> * Finish Aletheia 2.0 (aiming for 1st of July 2018)
>>>> How the success of the project will be measured: Number
>>>> of downloads, number of active community users and
>>>> number of documents stored in Aletheia
>>>> Estimated cost breakdown of the project, including any
>>>> materials, projects or online services that are
>>>> required to deliver the project. The cost breakdown
>>>> should include estimates of labour costs and/or
>>>> professional services:
>>>> * $15,000 for Extra Credits to create a video
>>>> covering Aletheia.
>>>> * $10,000 legal fees, up front consultation and ongoing
>>>> * $2,000 incidentals incurred so far (server costs,
>>>> custom domain name, travel expenses we have coming up)
>>>> * $5,000 to have website professionally built.
>>>> These are a great deal of costs. I'd be happy to just
>>>> apply to have the video covered. We think a
>>>> professionally created video that's engaging and made
>>>> by a talented group of people with a large fan base
>>>> that's easily sharable on social media and can be given
>>>> to anyone who asks "what is Aletheia?" would be the
>>>> greatest boon to our project. We need to get the word
>>>> out about our project and increase the rate of
>>>> volunteers coming on to the project, we think the
>>>> visual medium of a video is the best way to do this.
>>>> Unfortunately we don't have any video editors working
>>>> on the project yet, and we've attempted to negotiate an
>>>> "open source rate" with Extra Credits but they have
>>>> said $15,000 is the lowest they will go. This single
>>>> cost can be paid and therefore count as incurred before
>>>> 30th of September 2017.
>>>> The project team, their credentials and professional
>>>> capabilities, especially their history of open source,
>>>> open data, open hardware or open culture contributions:
>>>> * Kade Morton, Mozilla regional coordinator for
>>>> Brisbane, Mozilla techspeaker, completed the
>>>> Mozilla open leadership course for open source
>>>> projects, organised Aletheia's contributions to
>>>> Mozilla's Global Sprint 2017, board member of
>>>> Electronic Frontiers Australia
>>>> * Roo (wishes to remain anonymous) cofounded Aletheia
>>>> with Kade, works for ThoughtWorks on a number of
>>>> open source projects, is extremely active in
>>>> running privacy, online security and
>>>> decentralisation meetups locally. If our
>>>> application hinges on the identity of Aletheia's
>>>> cofounder I can approach him and ask if he would
>>>> mind his name being disclosed to the council but as
>>>> a blanket rule he has asked for anonymity.
>>>> Person responsible for project: Kade Morton
>>>> A statement including a willingness to provide regular
>>>> project updates on the project: I would be more than
>>>> happy to provide Linux Australia with regular status
>>>> updates on Aletheia and how our client is coming along.
>>>> Kade Morton
>>>> Twitter: @cypath
>>>> LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/kade-morton-34179283
>>>> Keybase: https://keybase.io/kademorton
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