GSoC 2023 Project Idea 13.1 A social-web tool to facilitate rating and commenting on research reports (350 h)

It is generally agreed that the 10 billion USD research/science publishing industry represents a bad way to expend scarce research funds. Funded by university budgets and grants to researchers, and based on the volunteerism of the research community, this market diverts substantial sums from the research activity itself, while putting up barriers to access to the research literature. Current open-access mandates merely transfer the costs from reader to authors and/or their funding/employing organizations. Research journals provide objective peer-review and an article rating and filtering mechanism. We propose to to leverage modern internet-based social technology to create an open reviewing and quality-ranking web portal that, if adopted, will drastically improve research discourse, functioning and accessibility.

The project involves the design of the portal and development of a front-end as well as the back-end database and logic, that will interact with the OpenReview API. Familiarity with web-technology as well as Python will be ideal. The goal is to develop a proof of concept portal that facilitates manuscript submission and an automated, free, community-based open access, peer review and quality-rating system. The system will eventually be tested with the Aperture Neuro open access publishing platform of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM), in consultation with that community.

Skill level: Intermediate/advanced

Required skills: Comfortable with Python. Experience with web technology – React/equivalent Javascript library, front-end programming, back-end programming with databases.

Time commitment: Full-time (350 h)

Lead mentor: @jbpoline

Project website:

Backup mentors: @suresh.krishna

Tech keywords: Science publishing, social web, science portals


Hello sir!
My self Armaan. I read idealist of INCF for GSoC’23 and I want to contribute to this project. Can you give me some information about OpenReview API so that I understand more about the project.

Hi @armanalam03 , nice to hear from you :slight_smile:
Tagging the mentors to help you get started @suresh.krishna @jbpoline Thanks!

@armanalam03 - Welcome aboard. From a quick Google search -

The idea is to create a portal where documents can be viewed, commented on and rated (pseudonymously) and for the comments and rating to be stored in a back-end database, while the articles themselves are stored on OpenReview and accessed via the API.

Hey @arnab1896,
I am Pranavdhar. I have been going through the idealist for GSOC 2023, and this idea aligns with my interest more, I would love to be part of this project’s contributions. Can you let me know how I can start and who will guide me through the process, can you direct me to a channel if there is any?

Hi @pranavdhar , happy to hear from you. Please check Dr. Suresh’s comments above and directly share your queries with the mentors. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hello @suresh.krishna ,
Can you give me some more info about it and can you add me to slack/telegram or any other group in which the INCF community interacts with?

Thankyou sir @suresh.krishna for sharing useful links. I have read the documentation and successfully ran API locally.
I want to ask that do we have to make an application like for showing all the venues and respective documents?

Hello Everyone, I am Anshuman,

I found this project to be interesting and compatible with my interests. I would like to collaborate on this project, can someone guide me on how to begin contributing?

Thank you.

@armanalam03 Please see the updated Github page. The idea is to create a portal where documents can be viewed, commented on and rated (pseudonymously) and for the comments and rating to be stored in a back-end database, while the articles themselves are stored on OpenReview and accessed via the API.

Please do ask specific questions after you read that - it will help me find out what I need to clarify further.

@Anshuman_Swain @pranavdhar - Welcome.

Please see the github page first. There is no interaction channel (except this one) or even code at the moment. The selected GSoC intern(s) will develop it from scratch.


I have added some new text to the Github Readme. @Anshuman_Swain @pranavdhar @armanalam03

1 Like

@suresh.krishna Sir can you please provide the github repo link you are referring to?

Sorry, I did not realize the “project website” field is empty. It was supposed to have this link


Hello @suresh.krishna @jbpoline ,
My name is Swapnil, and I am a fullstack developer majoring in Electronics and Computer Science. I am interested in this project. I am passionate about web development and machine learning. I am confident that my academic background combined with the knowledge I have gained in my studies will be a great asset to the project. In addition I have been working on a personal project similar to this and I have done some technical research and would love to talk about this with you.
I look forward to hearing from you and learning more about this project.

1 Like

@swaptr - please see the discussion above and feel free to ask any specific questions you might have. welcome aboard.

Thanks! I want to begin by asking:

  1. The OpenReview API sounds like a fantastic idea, but I want to ask the scope of API integration. While the user specific backend would be local to our project, and the comments would be generated by real users, what do you think would be the workflow for post creation, offloading post creation to users or a regular cron job to fetch the API and create posts accordingly (and limiting users to only commenting and upvoting)?
  2. I am working on a side project that is pretty similar to this app, only that it has to deal with summaries of papers and semantic searching. While researching about this, I found this website Semantic Scholar. How do you envision SciCommons to be different from Semantic Scholar?

Excellent questions, @swaptr.

The goal for now is to start small-scale as a proof of concept, so we are not trying to capture all of the scientific literature, either via a cron job, or via users posting articles to start a discussion. Instead the idea for now, but this can be discussed/changed, is to start with article authors submitting their articles to openReview via the portal using the openReview API. This then makes their articles available on the portal. Other users can then comment and review on the article, similar to what happens in OpenReview. The main difference is that commenters/users get a reputation via their activity, and users can filter articles who have a certain reputation among users with a certain reputation, so that you can for example see what high-reputation people think of the article. Journals can now form as communities of commenters/reviewers - a community can manage the rating/reviewing of submitted articles and in their own page, declare an article as published by them. In this scheme, multiple communities/journals can publish the same article, so the authors have the right to allocate formal publication to one of these journals, so that their article can be indexed by services following the current system.

  1. Semantic Scholar does not have any of the above rating features - it is just a database of titles and abstracts like Pubmed, and a searching tool.

Hope that makes sense. The GSoC proposal should discuss in as much detail as possible the technical aspects and feasibility of the planned work based on the intern’s experience and knowledge.

Hello! I am Kritika
I am a developer majoring in IT and mathematical innovation. I find the topic chosen very interesting because I’ve been working with Python for qui some time. I think my minor in computational biology can prove to really useful while working on projects with INCF. I look forward to learning about this project.

  1. For a MVP that sounds like an excellent option, my only concern is if this method of article submission would be a good enough motivation to use the platform, not all authors may like this back and forth (considering they still have to go through review and comments on openreview, which will be of much higher importance)? Instead we could give authors the ability to post articles with hyperlinks to openreview itself, and then building on top of it for other extra features in the future using the API and metadata. While this suffers from the inherent flaw that all content generation would depend on the authors participation with the platform (This is open for discussion). My suggestion for the cron job was a half baked solution to this problem only).
  2. You are right about Semantic Scholar. Just to put this forth, if we think of expanding the db in the future Semantic Scholar provides a very rich API and data dump, since they target a lot of journals and publications.
  3. A big deal of this project is to cater to common people, do you plan on integrating natural language AI tools and annotations to lower their entry barrier?