Foresight Pubs Community
There are two publications initiatives that have been considered so far by the FERN community.
1. Foresight Pre-Print Publications Platform and Discussion Forum
Pre-prints are draft versions of articles for journals and magazines, chapter drafts, and book drafts, not yet ready for print, that are circulated within a helpful pre-print commentary community. The pre-prints range from crude outlines to nearly finished versions. Folks in the community are motivated to comment because they want to help their colleagues, and because they know they will receive the same valuable feedback for any journal, magazine, or book preprints that they bring to the community. Discussion forums are also involved, where people can do research collaborations, and where journal and magazine editors can post potential writing jobs.
FERN should consider establishing an open Foresight Pre-Print Community (drupal might be a good platform for this) for sharing, working on, and discussing our article pre-prints, analogous to biology’s OpenWetware, chemistry’s UsefulChem and other open science initiatives. Such a platform would really improve the quality of the final articles that result, and get a lot more writing done in the right journals. For a current list of 19 primary and additional secondary foresight journals and magazines in English that have been identified to date, please see Global Forsight.org > Periodicals > Top Foresight Journals.
The professional foresight community and graduating students from the 15 primary MS and PhD foresight programs can be encouraged to publish regularly in primary and secondary foresight journals, and to use our Pre-Print Community. FERN should make web page that explains how valuable both journal and magazine publication is for recognition and development of the global foresight community.
This initiative would need a student champion or two to move foreward.
2. Open access publishing
Open access publishing has become the norm in physics, mathematics, biology, and other fields. The global foresight community would also benefit greatly from a more open dissemination of research and by being able to collaborate more effectively on pre-print peer review and commentary prior to publication. We would like to increase the publication and open-access archiving of foresight articles globally. Strategies to achieve this include:
- Getting foresight added as a category on existing open access publishing platforms (ArXiv,PLoS, etc.). Today, it seems that only science and medicine are publishing this way so far and it is not clear that foresight would be an appropriate fit for these sites (investigate this). A platform that includes social studies and technology studies today would be ideal.
- A foresight open access pre-print community (see above) could be hosted at and linked from one or more existing foresight organization websites, such as FERN, the APF, or WFS.
An ideal foresight publishing norm would include content packaged for multiple audiences and formats, to allow the widest possible dissemination of ideas. Content could be published simultaneously in the form of the traditional journal paper, a magazine article, a blog post, a webcast with slides (examples: SlideShare), an audio podcast, and a brief foresight video for YouTube, Science TV and other video sites.
Stephen Aguilar-Millan and Melanie Swan made a proposal to the Association of Professional Futurists Board in 2008, asking if they would join an open access foresight publishing initiative as a founding member and help in creating an open pre-print database and critique platform for APF members and other interested parties. APF declined at the time, and we haven’t made any subsequent proposals since. It’s time to get this initiative going again.
Possible Next Steps
- Do this as a FERN initiative, with a platform for preprint upload and commentary. Host it at pubs.fernweb.org. Would need a student champion.
- Talk to the folks at Futurum, the private foresight publications index, and see if they would be interested in an open access initiative with FERN.
- Approach other foresight organizations to explore how/if open access publishing would be useful to them. WFS, IAF, Institute for the Future, etc.
- Talk to people who have experience in implementing open access publishing initiatives
- Research how/whether open access publishing is spreading beyond science and medicine to other fields, including foresight
- Determine if existing foresight journals might have interest or initiative underway towards open access publishing
- Identify what already published content (what, how much) would be appropriate to include immediately in an open access foresight publishing database.
FERN advisor Clem Bezold of the Institute for Alternative Futures has offered to help us in promoting this practice in coming years. I’m sure there are champions at APF, WFS, WFSF, SocTech, IFTF, and others would help in this as well. We just need to find them and pitch them. Any takers?
Interested in starting this project for the FERN community? We’d love to work with you. Email a FERN director you’d like to work with, and let’s begin.