Today saw an important step forward towards a wikification of scholarly workflows: PLoS Computational Biology published an article that did not only follow the journal’s own author guidelines but also those for writing articles on the English Wikipedia, where a copy of the journal article has been pasted into [[Circular Permutation in Proteins]], where it shall live on in the hands of the wiki community.
The article is the first in a new manuscript track – Topic pages – that adds a dynamic component to articles published in the journal, as explained in the accompanying editorial:
This month, we have published our first Topic Page on “Circular Permutations in Proteins” by Spencer Bliven and Andreas Prlić  as part of our Education section. Topic Pages are the version of record of a page to be posted to (the English version of) Wikipedia. In other words, PLoS Computational Biology publishes a version that is static, includes author attributions, and is indexed in PubMed. In addition, we intend to make the reviews and reviewer identities of Topic Pages available to our readership. Our hope is that the Wikipedia pages subsequently become living documents that will be updated and enhanced by the Wikipedia community, assuming they are in keeping with Wikipedia’s guidelines and policies, either by individuals, or, perhaps as is already happening in medicine and molecular and cell biology, by something more organized, or with a more formal review structure. We also hope this will lead to improved scholarship in a changing medium of learning, in this case made possible by the Creative Commons Attribution License that we use.
The editorial also discusses the issue of reward for scholars to contribute to endeavours like Wikipedia, for which Topic Pages provide a novel mechanism.
Like the quoted section, the paper contains direct links to Wikipedia pages for background, which dramatically reduces the need to rehash what is already known, while still allowing for a minimum of context.
The reviews that have been produced as a result of the journal’s peer review process have since been posted to the talk page of the Wikipedia entry, along with some further procedural explanations.
Through this manuscript track, PLoS Computational Biology joins the so far very small circle of journals that have experimented with dynamic features (which, by the way, form a core aspect of the Criteria for the journal of the future). Most closely related is the effort at RNA Biology (interestingly, not an Open Access journal), where a dedicated manuscript track established in 2008 requires that a manuscript on a new family of RNA be accompanied by the draft for a corresponding entry on the English Wikipedia. This effort is part of the Rfam project whose scope now includes over 900 articles on the English Wikipedia that are integrated with Rfam, a database dedicated to RNA families. Ideas for a similar project have been put forward in relation to the journal Gene and the Gene Wiki project.
Much older efforts to render publications more dynamic are the Living Reviews series of physics-related journals (established in 1998) and Scholarpedia (2005), which is implemented on a highly customized version of MediaWiki, the same software that Wikipedias run on. Both platforms, however, employ licensing schemes that are incompatible with reuse on Wikipedias.
While the workflow for Topic Pages is a bit convoluted (as described by Andreas Prlić), automated journal-to-wiki export has been routine practice for about a year now with several Pensoft journals. In both cases, the workflows involve dedicated wikis, for reasons that have to do with licensing (Wikipedias are more restrictively licensed than Open-Access journals) or with policies (taxonomic treatments are considered original research and thus not allowed on Wikipedias).
It can thus be expected that the workflows for Topic Pages at PLoS Computational Biology will be streamlined. Of note, other journals are invited to take advantage of that by using the dedicated Topic Pages wiki for preparing articles in their wiki track. In addition to that, Wikimedia Germany has approved funds to help journals integrate their workflows with those of Wikimedia projects. The support will be limited to the first journal per integration step, but any resulting software will be made openly available for reuse, so that other journals can build on these efforts. The funds can also be used to cover up to 50% of author-side publication fees for the first paper in such wiki tracks in up to five journals.
More general support on matters of Open Access on Wikimedia projects is also available via WikiProject Open Access.