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Interview with Editorial Board Member Professor Guido Guidotti.

guidoIt’s true to say that all our Board Members have a first-rate academic pedigree and this is the case for Guido Guidotti (ORCID/0000-0002-0499-3412). He obtained an MD at Washington University School of Medicine and was a resident in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital. He received a PhD in Biochemistry from The Rockefeller Institute. He then joined the Committee on Higher Degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Harvard University, where he is now the Higgins Professor of Biochemistry.

Together with author Sari Paavilainen, they published their first article entitled “Interactions between the transmembrane domains of CD39: identification of interacting residues by yeast selection” in October and we’re delighted to share some background information on this review article and the reasons why Guido and Sari choose to publish with us.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your current research and the article that you published with ScienceOpen?

A. Nearly all the research done in my laboratory is concerned with the properties of protein molecules. During the past 20 years, we have studied enzymes that are attached to the lipid membrane by transmembrane domains and have the active site on the extracellular domain, so-called ecto-enzymes. The central question for the ecto-ATPase of interest, CD39 or E-NTPDase 1, is why is the enzyme attached to the membrane by two transmembrane domains rather than by one, as most other ecto-enzymes are. A possible answer is presented in this article, which describes a mutational analysis of the residues in the transmembrane domains, suggesting that the domain movements of the extracellular part of the protein during catalysis are coupled to rotational movement of the transmembrane domains.

Q. What are your thoughts on Open Access scientific publishing and the likely changes to the future publishing landscape?

A. Since the results of investigations financed by public money should be open to all interested parties, the evolution towards Open Access is inevitable. The only consideration is whether the fee for publication paid by the investigators is sufficient to pay for the cost of publication

Q. In particular, what do you think about the possibility of changing or replacing the traditional model of pre-publication anonymous peer review?

A. In my opinion, reviews should not be anonymous because a reviewer should be prepared to support the remarks made about the paper in a straightforward and candid fashion, and not hide behind the shield of anonymity. However, there is the view that a paper should be vetted for accuracy before publication and it will take time to convince authors that transparent discussion after publication is preferable to anonymous pre-publication review. The experiment being done by ScienceOpen is essential in this endeavor

Q. What about evaluation systems for the work of younger scientists? Is Impact Factor adequate, in your opinion, to evaluate the importance of scientific results?

A. Evaluation of the work of scientists, young and old, should be based on direct knowledge of the work. Abdicating personal judgment of the science in favor of using the opinion of journal editors, i.e. Impact Factor, to find out the quality and originality of a paper is not a good practice. Furthermore, assigning importance to a result is a dubious enterprise, as the definition of important is personal and variable

Q. Why did you choose ScienceOpen as a venue for your recent publication?

A. I am in favor of post-publication review by identified scientists as a more transparent way to achieve dissemination of information and support the effort of ScienceOpen in this regard.  Disclaimer : approximately 220 articles describing work done in my laboratory have been published, 110 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and 30 in Biochemistry which are publications of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the American Chemical Society, respectively. The process of publication in these journals has been straightforward and in general problems were resolved rationally. I have a high opinion of these journals.