I am currently developing a new buddy-press based social network site for anthropology researchers, much like academia.edu and researchgate.net - but specifically catering to an anthropology audience and with the addition of an online learning platform and project management app. So to explain the situation, sites like academia.edu take advantage of a legal gray area concerning licensing agreements between researchers and scholarly journals that they published papers in. Journals usually only allow researchers to post their published papers in “an institutional repository, an individual website, or a discipline-specific, noncommercial repository.” So sites like academia.edu are getting away with their business model by assuming no responsibility for papers that their users upload to the site. Scholarly journals on the other hand have gotten bad publicity for sending cease-and-desist orders to researchers that upload their published papers to those kinds of sites (the business models of scholarly journals and publishers are not-unlike college sports and aren’t angels here either).
Repositories serve a very important role and purpose in the scholarly research community and will continue to do so, but there is no denying the rise in popularity of social networking sites for researchers. So I have been exploring ways to create a social network for rsearchers in such a way that respects the licensing agreements between publishers and the authors of research papers by using federated technologies. I have begun talks with a board member of a newly launched anthropology-specific repository about partnering with them to integrate with the anthropology social network. The repository is an initiative of the biggest anthropology institution in the United States with a membership that consists of some of the biggest anthropology organizations from around the world. This would be a huge deal and could potentially disrupt the space that academia.edu and researchgate.net currently occupy as the first social network specifically catering to (anthropology) researchers to partner with a major institutional repository.
However, while have gone on a tear coming up with ideas on how this would all work theoretically, I am not very experienced with the currently available federated technologies or their capabilities and would like to get some direction and advice as to the feasibility of my proposal - as well as to connect with experienced developers in the fediverse who could take on this kind of work.
The basic idea that I would to pitch to them is to seamlessly sync-up the two sites in order to provide RSS-like feeds of paper summaries and their metadata in the user profiles of the authors on the social network and to dynamically organize lists of papers in the social groups across the social network based on a shared taxonomy between the social site and the repository. As well as possibly enabling the ability for users to upload papers onto the repository directly from their profiles on the social network. As I mentioned, the social network is using wordpress as its platform but the repository is using the proprietary Literatum platform by Atypon.
So I would like to ask the Feneas community, what do you think about the technical feasibility of such a project integrating two sites? What federated technology could be used to implement it? What is the scale of such a project. What are some of the potential hurdles that would need to overcome? Finally, is there anyone who would be interested in working on such a project?