Editors’ Vox is a blog from AGU’s Publications department.

Over the past four years, the Earth and Space Science (ESS) Open Archive has preserved over 10,000 early research outputs – preprints, posters, and presentations – contributed by nearly 37,000 authors across 25 subject areas. Now, ESS Open Archive is moving to a different platform supported by Authorea. Nick Violette, AGU Senior Program Manager for Publications and ESS Open Archive, spoke with the Editor in Chief, Jonathan Jiang, about how these new features will serve the community.

How has the Archive grown over the years? What were the initial goals for the archive, and where are they now?

The ESS Open Archive has always been about collaboration. We brought together 7 professional societies to host a venue for the fast dissemination of the community’s early outputs. Preprints are our primary content, but we quickly added support for meeting posters and presentations too. Later on, we welcomed society materials like conference reports and official statements. These additional content types led to new ways for contributors to open up their work to the world. A conference poster archived with us is indexed, trackable, given a customized license and – best of all – citable forever.

From the start, the focus was on ease-of-use. We began with a bridge between journal peer review software and the archive to build a tool for prospective journal authors to easily make preprints concurrent with peer review. Journal authors are able to create preprints of their submitted articles quickly and easily, directly from the journal submission software. This option gave them another route for peer feedback and public recognition, prior to the formal publication.

It was that focus on user-friendliness and easy access that spurred our next big step, a move to the Authorea publishing platform.

What benefits does the new platform offer?

This move benefits everyone. With the new site, authors can submit pre-written documents or collaboratively write new ones. Individuals can login with an account specifically for the platform, or they can login through ORCID, as was done on the former site. The new platform allows authors to submit an existing preprint to journal editorial systems to begin formal review. This complements the existing option to create a preprint concurrent with submission to the journal. This exciting functionality works directly with EJournalPress, the journal submission software used by the AGU and others, and will be expanded to additional journal editorial systems in the near future.

Also, most submissions are now converted to HTML, a more convenient and machine readable format than a static PDF, suitable for modern research outputs like data, audio, video, and visualizations. This new feature ensures that published work on the archive reaches the biggest audience possible.

Finally, this upgrade gives our editors and staff more management capabilities. They can update the site quickly and can assign submissions to reviewers that specialize in niche topics. The editors can organize published content in new ways via the platform’s Collection feature, giving us more flexibility to support, for instance, conference proceedings – papers associated with a meeting.

Where will the ESS Open Archive go from here?

At the outset, the ESS Open Archive was established to accelerate the open discovery and dissemination of Earth, environmental, and space science research. This commitment to open science and open data is the force behind where we want to take the archive. We are already working on integration with the ScholarOne journal software to facilitate more preprints concurrent with peer review. And of course, we want to bring more professional and scholarly societies onboard, too. We encourage any societies interested in connecting their meetings or journals to the ESS Open Archive to reach out to us at support@essoar.org.

Is there anything else you want the community to know?

The US Office of Science and Technology Policy has recently mandated that publishers release publicly funded work without additional costs to the reader. This memorandum clearly shows that open and accessible scientific research is now the norm. ESS Open Archive is proud to have been ahead of the curve for four years now.

Most major publishers support concurrent preprints during review. See our updated FAQ and submission guide for more information about individual publisher policies and for details on the various licenses we offer.

This platform upgrade will ensure that we continue to stay at the forefront of open science and will allow us to better serve the needs of our community.

—Jonathan H. Jiang (jonathan.h.jiang@jpl.nasa.gov, 0000-0002-5929-8951), Editor in Chief, ESS Open Archive; and Nick Violette (0000-0001-7641-657X), Senior Program Manager, Publications, American Geophysical Union

Citation: Jiang, J. H. and N. Violette (2022), Earth and Space Science Open Archive takes a big step forward, Eos, 103, https://doi.org/10.1029/2022EO225037. Published on 30 November 2022.
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