In line with the recent beetle boom on ScienceOpen, a researcher led collection on Coleoptera has been created on ScienceOpen. In the following interview founder and editor of the collection, Rolf Georg Beutel (Professor of Zoology at the Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, Jena) will share a little background and gives us an insight on how it works in practice, how such thematic collections serve research communities. And of course, he will also reveal why beetles are cool.
Hi Rolf, thank you for joining. Can you first tell us a bit about your research background, and how you originally got interested in Entomology? Why did you choose to study Coleoptera?
I must admit that in contrast to many other entomologists I was not interested in insects at all as a child or later as a student of Zoology at the University of Tübingen. I was clearly inspired by an eccentric but outstanding academic teacher, Dr. G. Mickoleit, who suggested I should investigate the head and mouthparts of a very small and very cryptic beetle larva. Even though I had a hard time with my first objects of study, I obviously got hooked and continued studying beetles and other insects for the rest of my scientific career.
Why did you decide to build a ScienceOpen Collection on Coleoptera?
Dr. Stephanie Dawson, whom I have known for more than 10 years, mainly in the context of the Handbook of Zoology series, suggested to me to establish this ScienceOpen collection on beetles. My positive previous experience with her expertise and also with ScienceOpen was confirmed by the impressively efficient process of building and presenting this collection.
Coleoptera is one of the first automatically synchronized collections on ScienceOpen. What were the main principles of building the collection and how it develops?
Coleoptera is an immensely diverse and popular group. The intention was to go beyond the traditional fields of taxonomy and morphology, even though these have certainly their merits and are still very important in different contexts. The established data base will continuously grow and extend, integrating an ever increasing number of open access studies.
Do you have favourite pieces or lines of research in the collection that you find especially relevant to this field?
Primarily I consider myself as a systematist, and therefore I am interested in articles on phylogeny and classification in the first place. Even though many publications in these fields are older and not available as electronic files (or not covered by open access), the new collection already provides an impressive number of relevant studies and will grow with an accelerated rate in the future.
As an evolutionary biologist dealing with beetles among other groups of insects, I appreciate that the data base covers multiple lines of research, as for instance genetics or physiology. This has the potential for reciprocal stimulation of researchers of Coleoptera, beyond the basic disciplines like systematics and taxonomy. These are indispensable tools in biodiversity research and provide an essential reference system for studies in other fields. Connected with topics like for instance the physiological and genetic backgrounds of feeding habits or reproductive biology, evolutionary biology of Coleoptera is getting really exciting. The very rapidly growing molecular data in the “age on phylogenomics” open fascinating perspectives in the investigation of beetles and other organisms.
In which ways your research community benefits from the collection?
The easy accessibility of open access articles on beetles is an obvious advantage of this collection.
Finally, tell us about what is the coolest thing in studying entomology?
Beetles are often very beautiful insects and have attracted attention very early, for instance as religious symbol (Scarabaeus sacer) or material for jewellery, or also simply as food source. Among amateur collectors, who made valuable contributions over the last centuries, only butterflies enjoy a comparable popularity. Talking about what is cool about Coleoptera, it is hard to avoid a statement made by the geneticist and evolutionary biologist J.B.S. Haldane, who allegedly said that God had an “inordinate fondness of beetles”. This mainly refers to the incredible diversity of the group, which presently comprises approximately 380.000 described species, about one-third of all known organisms. The question why Coleoptera was much more successful (in terms of species numbers) than other groups is an intriguing question in itself for evolutionary biologists. Aside from this, beetles are an integrative part of nearly all terrestrial and limnic habitats. Many species are important plant pests but others beneficial as natural enemies of harmful species. What fascinates me most is that after centuries of research crucial phylogenetic issues are still unsolved, like for instance the interrelationships of the 4 extant suborders (“it is the glory of God to conceal things….”). Presently exponentially growing molecular data sets and improved analytical approaches (www.1KITE.org) provide new powerful tools to resolve these issues. This is definitely “cool” and exciting!
Thank you, Rolf, it’s been great getting your insight!
Insects are everywhere. The fact that their diversity surpasses any other group of organisms is an amazing evolutionary success story, and they have a significant impact on the environment and therefore upon our own lives. Our recent additions from the field of Entomology open up new perspectives to the study of these colourful creatures. They help us to develop a better understanding on the role insects play within a range of environments, and the solutions they can provide to everyday and global problems.
More specifically, they tell us about:
The significance of their contribution to biodiversity and its critical role in human culture
The role that insects play within a given environment
The kinds of ecological interactions with humans and other lifeforms on earth and the ways people benefit from sharing their life space with insects
Their positions in food webs
Their morphology, evolution, and biomechanics
The challenges in the description and classification of this diverse group of animals
Journal of Insects as Food and Feed (Wageningen)
Thisjournal aims to re-define the position insects have in the food chain by putting human and animal entomophagy (i.e. the use of insects as food sources) into a global perspective. This is important as it is likely that insects will become part of mainstream diets in the future due to increasing populations and demands on food resources. These volumes set the table for edible insects and open new perspectives on how and why to integrate them into both human and animal nutrition. The articles uncover complexities in global environmental challenges, entomology, food science, and culture.
One part of studies focus on health aspects and nutritional composition of edible insects and environmental impacts of insect procurement on both a regional and global scale. As a reaction to grand global challenges such as population growth and global warming and increasing pressure of resources followed by them, they make suggestion on how to (re)integrate insects as alternative protein sources into animal and human food chain. One of the main benefits of entomophagy they identify is the smaller ecological footprint of harvesting compared to other protein production techniques. Articles addressing issues like:
Juicy bits: deep-fried house crickets (Acheta domesticus) at a market in Thailand (Source: Wikipedia)
Another part of studies survey the complexity of consumer acceptance, attitudes, and marketing strategies for the promotion of edible insects in different cultural-geographical areas. They show evidence that despite their massive socio-economic advantages, a major impediment to large scale human insect consumption is the strong negative attitudes towards insects as food in many cultures. Their aim is to get a clearer picture on these social and psychological barriers to insects as food in Western cultures and outline strategies to increase their social acceptability.
On the other hand, the role of culture in our food choices is also reflected in attitude surveys from cultures where human entomophagy is (or was) an inherent part of gastronomic traditions. As such, these studies bring together entomology, food science, and culture and raise issues like:
Entomologia Generalis is a quarterly, peer-reviewed international Journal of General and Applied Entomology. It is published since 1968 and covers experimental, comparative, and descriptive problems of all ﬁelds of research on insects and other terrestrial arthropods relating simultaneously to various branches of entomology.
Here you can find a sample of articles from the collection:
The researcher led collection Coleoptera is a significant contribution to the stronger representation of entomology on ScienceOpen. In contrast to the publisher led collections, such as the ones above which are typically restricted to the content of one journal, researcher led collections are independent from publishers and journals and therefore allow for a wider range of flexibility in terms of synthesis across journals, and even disciplines.
Creating “virtual journals” from all available articles on ScienceOpen allows researchers to make decisions on where to focus their attention or to focus on specific research topics. As the name of the collection suggests, in this case, focus in on the most dominant order of insects, namely, Coleoptera. The collection offers as diverse perspectives for the study of beetles as they are themselves.
Relevant articles are collected from more than 20 journals, regardless on their Open Access/ non-Open Access status or scope of interest. Having a look at the collection, you can also see how it interacts with Journal of Insects as Food and Feed and Feed. In addition, our interview with the editor of the collection, Professor Georg Beutel gives you an insight on his motivations for building the collection and also on how his research community benefit from it.
Today, we’re happy to announce the integration of the Journal of Paleontological Techniques (JPT) onto our platform! This journal is all about sharing and opening up the methods that palaeontologists use in their day-to-day research.
So if you love Jurassic Park and dinosaurs, this collection is perfect for you! All articles are Open Access, which means they are free to read, share, and re-use by anyone.
Here are some of our absolute favourite new articles:
Dinosaur frauds, hoaxes, and “Frankensteins” – Dinosaurs and other fossils have been artificially enhanced, or totally forged, to increase their commercial value. Here, several techniques are suggested for detecting hoaxes.
On top of our search and discovery platform ScienceOpen has built a ‘social networking’ layer to allow researchers to interact with each other and with the content on our site.
We don’t see ourselves so much as a social platform like Facebook or ResearchGate, but more as a professional community space for researchers to exchange knowledge and progress their research field in the open, and receive credit for doing so.
But what are the key features needed for any modern research platform like this?
Unlike other platforms, we don’t expect you to manually upload your papers. We automate this via ORCID integration instead. I mean, it’s 2017, this just makes sense.
Platforms such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu rely on individuals to manually upload their research, often requiring a lot of effort and time. Furthermore, there is a total loss of legal certainty, as often it is copyrighted publisher versions which are uploaded onto the platforms, and integrated into their data systems.
Straight from the excavations an assembly of archaeological journals have arrived to ScienceOpen today as a result of our new partnership with Equinox, an independent academic publisher of books and journals in Social Sciences and Humanities.
Although these journals thematise different subfields, areas and periods, a common denominator in their approaches is that they all take an anthropological view of archaeology. Their aim is to extract meaning structures from the material remains of ancient cultures in order to reconstruct past lifeways and rituals in everyday life, document knowledge production, and to explain changes in human societies through time in general. Such thick descriptions are achieved through the interpretation of anthropological phenomena in multiple contexts – be it parallelisms with another ancient culture, large(r)-scale investigations of the same tendencies, global warming or theoretical frameworks like gender studies – rather than in their isolation.
One source of the diversity in contexts comes from the multidisciplinary character of the journals. Contributions have been submitted from around the world and they encompass disciplinary perspectives from art, architecture, sociology, urban studies, cultural studies, design studies, history, human geography, media studies, museum studies, psychology, and technology studies. Are you interested urban development, arts, or ritual acts in ancient cultures or the frozen artefacts being conserved by ice patches? Below you can find the journals now indexed on our site, and a teaser from their selected articles. Take a peek!
Hi Ashley, and thanks for joining us here! Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?
Certainly! I began college aiming for a Zoology degree while working at the University’s library. My love for information grew in proportion to my struggle for mastering Physics and Organic Chemistry. My senior year I transferred disciplines and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) focused on Library and Information Science. For the next decade, I worked in both public and academic libraries and began pursuing my Masters in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Washington (to be completed this summer. Yay!) Now I have found myself submersed in the realm of scientific knowledge and research dissemination. I find this to be a perfect way to combine all my passions – science, knowledge, and service to others.
When did you first hear about open access and open science? What were your initial thoughts?
The first time I heard about these topics was while interning at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the Knowledge and Research Services department. My initial thought was “How have I not heard of this before?!”. Having worked in libraries for many years I was familiar with the serials crisis and the importance of research, but I had not been introduced to the Open Access movement. Then I thought, “Of course Open Access should be the norm!”. Knowledge should be a public good.
“Of course Open Access should be the norm!”. Knowledge should be a public good.
What’s it like working for the Gates Foundation? How much of your time do you spend working on ‘open’ related things?
I really love working for the Gates Foundation – it’s providing me with the opportunity, each day, to work towards a greater good. A message that is posted throughout the foundation is “All Lives Have Equal Value” and I take this to heart. This is the first institution where I have been employed to embrace innovation and move initiatives forward fairly quickly. One of our tenets is that we will take risks that others can’t or won’t and I’m proud of this. Currently, I spend about 90% of my time on Open Access. This encompasses internal and external communications, advocacy of our policy, and working with our grantees to make their research open access. We’ve recently joined the newly launched Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) to work with other research funders worldwide to adopt mandates like ours. Together we can create a funding environment where Open Access or even Open Science is the norm. I am beginning to see the impact that my work has on the scientific community and it’s very exciting. We have other partnerships in the works that will be announced soon to continue to support the Open Access movement.
Hi Gautam! Thanks for joining us here. Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?
Hi Jon, thanks for having me here!
I’m a postdoc in Buzz Baum’s lab at UCL working on the evolution of cell division- all the way from Archaea to unicellular eukaryotes. I found myself in London in mid-2015 after a bit of continent-hopping that included a stint as a cell-biologist-in-training at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore and a PhD in Systems Biology at Stanford University.
When did you first hear about open access and open science? What were your initial thoughts?
Back in 2005, when I was an undergraduate in India without proper library access. PLOS and PMC came to the rescue! At the time paywalls were a very real and practical hindrance, but I must confess I didn’t think much about the actual ethics of publishing until well into my PhD.
As a postdoc in the UK, how do you feel about recent policy changes around Open Access?
I think the UK is making some positive moves, such as requiring Open Access for compliance with the Research Evaluation Framework. Funding agencies like the BBSRC and Wellcome Trust defray the costs of “gold” Open Access for published research supported by their grants. However, in the absence of accompanying reforms in the publishing industry or revised evaluation criteria for scientists, many of these policy changes will simply funnel more taxpayer money towards established scientific journals, providing more of a stopgap than a long-term solution.
I must confess I didn’t think much about the actual ethics of publishing until well into my PhD
Today at ScienceOpen we’re pleased to welcome Hogrefe, a major publisher in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and mental health, among our new partners in 2017. Their open access collection, Hogrefe OpenMind is now available on our platform and waiting for you to read, share, comment on or review.
The collection makes a significant contribution to keeping society’s mind open about relevant social psychological issues surrounding us. The collection consists of a diverse portfolio of highly-regarded, peer-reviewed articles in English and German covering many subject areas of psychology and psychiatry. As well as studies addressing highly-professional audience, such as psychometric tests, assessment reports, or experiment design updates, articles of the collection are centred around issues in psychology touching upon the functioning of any given society but are considered to be taboo topics by convention. These form the center-pieces of the OpenMind collection, and have the potential to facilitate a better understanding of these taboos and thus to raise awareness of them. So what are these issues?
1. The evolution and functioning of stereotypes
Stereotypes are something we all live by. Being part and parcel of our very basic cognitive mechanism and categorization, they unconsciously shape our worldview. This group of studies give us a chance to develop a reflexive, deliberate view of them as well as to gain a better understanding on how they work and how they influence us and structure our thinking.
2 other stereotype-related studies survey how stereotype awareness affects our behavioural patterns. More precisely, how awareness of stereotypes could affect a person’s behaviour and performance when they complete a stereotype-relevant task. They also point out which kind of stereotypes are stronger in this respect: race or gender.
2. How well do you know your biases? Priming factors underlying our moral decisions
These set of studies take us closer to the unconscious physical biases that might influence our moral judgements or self-evaluation.
3. Suicide intervention
A significant part of the collection comes from the journal Crisis and contains potentially life-saving information for all those involved in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. These studies show the more general, social dimensions and implications of these, for the first sight isolated, individual-level crises. As such, the collection helps to strengthen social awareness and the perception of responsibility towards suicide phenomena, and complements our existing collection on stigmatisation of mental health issues and suicide prevention.
2 of these studies sketch primary and multilevel suicide prevention strategies and show evidence-based best-practices for these efforts.
Not surprisingly, one of the biggest “suicide-magnets” of the world, the Golden Gate Bridge also has its rightful place in the collection. One study examines whether the suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge is effective enough. Its results hold special relevance considering the recently growing number of committed suicides (second most-used suicide site in the world) despite the existence of the countermeasures.
Finally, Coveney et al. surveys another means of practical aid and shows how callers’ feedback on Samaritans National Suicide Prevention Helpline can help in providing a better service and therefore save more lives.
+1 Gender bias in academia
Gender bias is definitely a highly-debated issue in current academic discourse, and even the most read article on our platform is on the subject! Mutz, Bornmann, and Hans-Dieter contribute to a clearer picture by examining whether gender matters in grant peer review in an Austrian context. Here you can see their results. Peer review option is just 3 clicks away!
The importance of the free availability of these studies for everyone is beyond question. With the help of our new discovery tools and multiple filtering options you can easily find the most relevant pieces of the collection for you. Furthermore, you can also share them with your research community by adding them to your own collection. Take a look and get engaged!