Indiegogo Features Update

Yesterday we launched our crowdfunding campaign. A few hours after launch, visitors to our main website recieved a message of “502 bad gateway error”. On the list of things you’d like to happen during the launch of a crowdfunding campaign this wasn’t exactly high.

But always one to seize an opportunity in response we’d like to talk more about what we’d like to build in Button 2.0.

Yesterday’s event perfectly displays one motivation — we must rebuild to simply continue what the Button can do. We can continue to scale our servers (as we have) but this isn’t a long term solution.

Needless to say, we’re not satisfied with just maintaining what we can do now. Here is a sneak peek of just some of what’s on the cards for Button 2.0:

  • A fresh website to house the Button 2.0 and the project, as well as the data and associated campaign
  • Rebuilding the Button as a browser plug-in. This will allow us to radically increase what can be done and provide a scalable platform for the future. If we raise enough money there are also plans for a phone app.
  • A system where users can request access to a paper from a paper’s correspondence address and in response the author can submit the link to an openly available version to us. We’ll then send all other requests to that link. We’re also exploring allowing repositories to submit information on the papers they contain into a database, which we can use to link research published in journals behind paywalls to repositories. This has been a big area for us, so we’re exploring still many options for how to do it.
  • We’re looking to try and simplify the process of detecting paywalls, so that there is almost no user input required.
  • We’d like to expand how users can interact with our data. Currently we have a simple map, however we’d like to expand how we do this to allow authors to see how many times people have hit paywalls in their work.
  • We’re expanding our use of social media to display altmetrics and make using Button 2.0 the easiest way to share research you care about.
  • We’re also looking to expand the remit of the Button to Open Data and also help promote the generation of lay summaries of research with ScienceGist and the Open Data Button.
  • We’re looking to build great API’s (how computers speak to other computers) to allow anyone to use our data, and features of the project they find useful. A notable project in this area is the plans to signal if a reference is open access on wikipedia.

Any obvious question arises now: why didn’t we put more details about these in the Indiegogo page originally? The reason is simple the features we build depend on how much money we raise, how quickly we get it, and, of course, what people want.

All money we raise from the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign will go directly to fund development with Cottage Labs, a well known and well respected development house in the open community. But we’re also hoping lots of developers will join this open source project, because all our success to this point is because of them and we’d still like them to place a central role in this iteration.

If you like what you see, please do support us over at If you’d like to keep up to date with developments in this area you can keep track of issues over at our GitHub and discussion in our google group. There is already lots to do and we’re a friendly bunch, so please join in the fun.

P.S. Hawkeyes among you will note that we haven’t spoken explicitly about licensing in this. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to be working on it, but we’re in discussions with people about how best it can be done.