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Another researcher-led collection ticked off!

Another researcher-led collection ticked off!

We have a brand new collection that’s just itching for interaction on Ticks and Tick-Borne Pathogens! It contains more than 11,000 peer reviewed research articles, with a combined readership of almost 50,000 on our platform already.

ScienceOpen users can read, share, recommend, review, and apply all of our advanced search and discovery tools to this collection, including applying our recently launched ‘Open Access’ filter.

This collection is focused on the wide field of research on ticks and tick-transmitted pathogens. It aims to include papers on a wide variety of disciplines related to ticks and the pathogens they transmit, focused (but not limited) to morphology and systematics of ticks, ecology, reports of pathogens in both ticks and their hosts. A secondary aim is to provide global view of the effects of climate and land use changes on the pattern of distribution of these arthropods.

We spoke with the collection Editor, Professor Agustín Estrada-Peña, about why he decided to build this collection for his research community.

(Source)

Can you tell us why you tell us about your research interests in ticks and tick-borne diseases?

I am Agustín Estrada-Peña. I have several titles behind my name, but they do not have importance in this context. Let’s just say that I am Professor of Zoonoses and Parasitology in the University of Zaragoza (Spain). My work is focused on ticks and tick-transmitted organisms. I did work on systematics, physiology, life cycles, and the probable impact of environmental change on the pathogens they can transmit. I have been enrolled with FAO, WHO, and recently with the European Center for Disease Control in different aspects regarding human and animal health and ticks. My current interest is on the way the ecological relationships between ticks, microorganisms and vertebrates emerged and evolved. I am working on new ways to explore these relationships and on the molecular aspects behind them.

Why did you decide to build a ScienceOpen collection on this topic?

I heard about ScienceOpen several months ago. Honestly speaking I realized the importance of the website early on, but only had the opportunity to superficially explore its capabilities. In the last years I am more and more concerned about the way the “impact factors” drive our life as researchers. I am lucky to not need more impact factors in my life (but citations!!!), but I am responsible of the careers of the people working with me. And thus, these indexes really impact their lives. The sentences before must be read considering that I work as an (unpaid) Associate Editor for several journals, and I review two or three papers every month. My point is that the review process is consequential to human honesty. If authors are competing for an ecological niche with reviewers, the odds may be against the weakest part of the equation.

I like the possibility of a post-publishing open review system. I would like to add my name at the end of every review I do, as a proof of honesty with the authors. This is a point I much like of a ScienceOpen, and this something I will certainly explore in the next future.

I would like to add my name at the end of every review I do, as a proof of honesty with the authors. This is a point I much like of a ScienceOpen

Stephanie Dawson contacted me in February, 2017, and we had a telephone call about the possibility to compile a collection of papers on ticks and related topics. I accepted after a few questions about my duties. I must to admit that I accepted because a fundamental point: the majority of papers I read have poor revisionary parts, because “it is difficult to find the corpus of science of a topic” as stated by many researchers in my field. A collection in ScienceOpen would be an interesting way to have, together, the corpus of science of ticks and associated pathogens.

While this was the fundamental reason of my enthusiastic “yes” to the proposal, I must clearly state that I enjoyed working on the collection. For the first time, I had the opportunity to know when a term was used for the first time, or when a pathogen was first associated to a tick. I had the opportunity to look at the forest and not the trees.

For the first time, I had the opportunity to know when a term was used for the first time, or when a pathogen was first associated to a tick. I had the opportunity to look at the forest and not the trees.

What were some of the things you found easy about building the collection, and what was a little difficult? How did you overcome these challenges?

I am not that modest as to admit that the work has been smooth, and that I just did a short and easy work on my computer. After a long and restrictive search of terms, the query produced more than 20,000 papers. I then manually removed more than half of them because they were not related to the topic of the collection. It was not a problem of the query or of ScienceOpen. But, you know, some species of Rickettsia are not transmitted by ticks, some bacteria may be symbionts in other organisms, etc. The collection is thus focused on every aspect of ticks and their associated pathogens, including diagnostics, epidemiology, molecular biology, distribution, control or treatment. I removed most of the papers reporting only one clinical case. However, I left some papers that today could be considered controversial, but, probably, in the future, would prove their validity…or not (thanks to the post-publication review).

The collection is thus focused on every aspect of ticks and their associated pathogens, including diagnostics, epidemiology, molecular biology, distribution, control or treatment.

What are some of the key papers or topics in your collection?

I do not have favorite papers in this collection, but I do have favorite topics. I would like to propose the readers to follow the sequence of events that (still today) are disentangling the molecular events of transmission of Borrelia to the tick or to the reservoirs and humans. Or, in example, to examine how the molecular methods of detection of pathogens evolved in the last 40 years.

How do you hope researchers will interact with your collection, and what do you ultimately hope to achieve with it?

This collection is the same corpus of science I would like to have had on my desktop some years ago. Its potential to examine “the beginning” of old topics, recover undetected reprints, or just track the evolution of an hypothesis, is simply awesome. I would like to hear from the researchers about the ways to improve it, or what other topics should be added. I plan some additional work on the collection, other than the timely update with new papers. I just hope readers will find this compilation useful. I would like to know how researchers interact with and how useful it has been in retrieving “concealed” papers or lines of arguments.

Last, but not least, I am interested to know how the philosophy behind ScienceOpen changed their way of approaching published science.

This collection is the same corpus of science I would like to have had on my desktop some years ago.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us and build your collection, Professor Agustín Estrada-Peña. We look forward to watching it evolve in the future!