Economic Principles in Cell Biology          

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Principles for collaborative writing

  1. Publish regular updates of the book
    A (latex) pdf and an HTML version
    Pdf version should be posted to repositories like BioRxiv or HAL
    We should figure out a simple + cheap print-on-demand option, where readers can get a printed version of the book by just ordering it with a print-on-demand publisher
  2. Contributing should be easy and low effort
    Break the topic down into small manageable pieces
    If possible, encourage re-use of (authors’ own) texts from the public domain
  3. Responsibilities should be flexible and transparent
    An author can be responsible for a part of the book; in this case, they can organise who has write access for that part (only the author, the author and others, anyone?), and are responsible for correct formatting
    Alternatively, an author can be a contributor (to all parts of the book to which they are granted writing access); information about writing access needs to be shown clearly and centrally (including whom to ask to get writing access for a specific part of the book)
    A clear central to-do list, to show where and how people can contribute
    Encourage the use of different online tools (eg overleaf, papeeria, google docs) such that every “responsible” author can decide about the one they find most practical tool to work with
    A transparent timeline with known dates for new releases of book versions
  4. The workload should be distributed among many authors
    Learn from existing community efforts (such as SBML, COMBINE, etc)
    Avoid redundancies by having a clear structure (to be discussed among the authors)
    Start with a small, manageable core part of the book, and demonstrate that this can be done; establish good teaching materials just for this core, to encourage others to contribute to an already functioning project
  5. We should explore and further refine procedures that have been used by other communities
    Use the most practical available tools and infrastructures, and be flexible (because everyone has different preferences for tools + styles of working)
    All central decisions should be taken by the collective, i.e.everyone who currently contributes
    The work should be overseen by editors to ensure a consistent style of the book