All Knowledge

A new open layer is being created over all knowledge.

A coalition of some of the world’s key scholarly publishers, platforms, libraries, and technology organizations are coming together to create an open, interoperable annotation layer over their content.


Read the article on about the coalition

For decades web pioneers have imagined a native and universal collaborative capability over the Web. Many projects have experimented with it, yet in 2015 we’re still stuck with the same patchwork of proprietary commenting systems, only available in some places.

Coalition member W3C blogs about the potential for annotation

In the last few years a small community has been working to change that. Their goal is to standardize “annotation” as a unit of conversation built into the very fabric of the Web. In late 2014 the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the standards body for the Web, established a formal Working Group to support this standards effort. Much progress has been made, and many implementations are now mature enough to be deployed.

A scholarly coalition

Scholars are natural annotators, as the process of creating new knowledge requires building on what’s come before. So, in order to bring this capability to the areas where new knowledge is created and published, we sought out some of the world’s most essential scholarly publishers and knowledge platforms. They realize that a robust and interoperable conversation layer can transform scholarship, enabling personal note taking, peer review, copy editing, post publication discussion, journal clubs, classroom uses, automated classification, deep linking, and much more. They understand that this layer must evolve as an open, interoperable, and shared capability aligned with the motivations and interests of scholars and researchers. They are agreeing to collaborate openly with their peers, to share experiences, and to work together towards mutual objectives.

Coalition founding members

The coalition's founding members represent some of the world’s key scholarly publishers, platforms, libraries, and technology organizations.

  • PLOS
  • arXiv
  • HaithiTrust
  • Wiley
  • HighWire Press
  • Crossref
  • iPython
  • IDPF
  • eLife
  • biorxiv
  • SSRN
  • W3C
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • PKP / Open Journal Systems
  • ContentMine
  • Europe PubMed Central
  • Gigascience
  • Wellcome Library
  • Wolfram
  • Elsevier
  • AGU - American Geophysical Union
  • Amherst University Library
  • brandeis
  • Center for Open Science
  • Collaborative Knowledge Foundation
  • JHU MUSE Knowledge Unlatched
  • NASA Astrophysics Data System Project
  • Knowledge Unlatched
  • Michigan Publishing
  • MIT Press
  • NYU Press
  • O’Reilly Books (aka Safari Books Online)
  • Pensoft
  • Pressbooks
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library
  • Stanford University Libraries
  • Ubiquity Press
  • University of California Davis Library
  • University of California Press
  • University of Illinois Libraries
  • Duke University Press
  • Oxford university press
  • Cambridge university press
  • University of Southern California - Scalar
  • World Digital Mathematics Library
  • Authorea
  • WAS - World Archives of Sciences
  • PaperHive
  • Europeana
  • Atypon
  • RedLink
  • Semantico
  • Journal of Neuroscience Research
  • Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International
  • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
  • Publishing Technology plc
  • Annual Reviews
  • Unizin
  • F1000
  • Factminers
  • Romanian Center for Investigative Journalism
  • CELI
  • Altmetric
  • Qualitative Data Repository
  • Pundit
  • Worldbrain
  • Expansa
  • Open Edition

What will the coalition do?

Our goal is that within three years, annotation can be deployed across much of scholarship. Today, coalition members are in different phases of engagement. Some have already implemented annotation natively and are working to increase adoption and develop new uses, others are at the very beginning of the process. Objectives for the first year, in 2016, are to begin socializing the progress that’s been made, to identify opportunities and discuss potential challenges, lay out a common roadmap, and for most to begin the process of design and experimentation necessary to implement annotation in their own context.

How to get involved

The coalition is open to any scholarly publisher, platform, library or technology organization that shares our vision and objectives and wants to participate. Interested parties can email: for more information.


Face to Face @ FORCE2016
April 17, 2016 Portland, OR

Join us for the kick off face to face meeting at FORCE2016. The workshop "Bringing open annotation to all scholarly works" is open to all!

A number of other remote working sessions will be identified in early 2016.


You can read the full press advisory here.