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Prof. Rolf Georg Beutel: “The established data base will continuously grow and extend, integrating an ever increasing number of open access studies.”

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!

(Credit: U.Schmidt, Flickr. CC BY 2.0)

Got inspired? You can create your own thematic collection by following these steps.

 

In:  Collections  
ScienceOpen collections are now even more useful for researchers

ScienceOpen collections are now even more useful for researchers

In the new year, we re-launched ScienceOpen and basically made it even more epic for publishers and researchers.

We have unified our search interface and applied it to all of our author/member profiles, collections, journals and publishers. That’s a whole lot more research context, metadata, metrics, and useful functionality. The newly upgraded usage statistics are incredibly useful in seeing who us re-using your work and how. This additional dimension is built on top of our newly enhanced search and discovery platform, and provides a powerful way for researchers to develop research, article context, and also their individual profiles within the research community, and all in the open.

We built a ‘research collider’ to make magic happen

At ScienceOpen, we offer a platform where any researcher can comment on, and post-publication peer review any research article they want to. By creating thematic collections, you can bring this into a community space, putting work and additional commentary in the context of related research. By having collection editors that can invite people to review articles, we retain the moderation aspect that is crucial to developments in open peer review. We give the power to researchers to do what they want, when they want, and to use and share their expertise in the most efficient possible way.

Continue reading “ScienceOpen collections are now even more useful for researchers”  

Editorial control is a critical part of open peer review

I get the feeling that some researchers regard public, post-publication peer review as a non-rigorous, non-structured and poor alternative to traditional peer review. Much of this might be down to the view that there are no standards, and no control in a world of ‘open’.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

At venues like ScienceOpen and F1000 Research, there is full Editorial control over peer review. The only difference is that there is an additional safe guard against fraud and abuse. In public peer reviews, the quality (and quantity) of the process is made explicit. Both the report and the identity of the reporter are made open. This type of system invites civility and community engagement, and lays the foundation for crediting referees. It also highlights an under-appreciated, overlooked, aspect of the work that scientists do to advance knowledge in the real world.

ScienceOpen Editor Dan Cook said “Personally, I think the public needs to know how hard scientists work to advance our understanding of the world. “

At ScienceOpen, the Editorial office plays two roles. First, the Editorial team for ScienceOpen Research performs all the basic standards checks to make sure that research published is at an appropriate scientific standard. They attempt to protect against pseudoscience, and ensure that the manuscript is prepared to undergo public scrutiny. Second, there are Collection Editors, who manage peer review, curation, and discussion about their own Collections.

Why is Editorial control so important?

For starters, without an Editor, peer review will never get done. Researchers are busy, easily distracted, and working on 1000 other things at once. Opting to go out into the world and randomly distribute your knowledge through peer review, while selfless, is actually quite a rare phenomenon.

Peer review needs structure, coordination, and control. In the same way as traditional peer review, this can be facilitated by an Editor.

But why should this imply a closed system? In a closed system, who is peer reviewing the Editors? What are editorial decisions based on? Why and who are Editors selecting as reviewers?

These are all questions that are obscured by traditional peer review, and traits of a closed, secretive, and subjective system – not the rigorous, objective, gold standard that we hold peer review to be.

Source
Source

At ScienceOpen, we recognise this dual need for Editorial standards combined with transparency. Transparency leads to accountability, which in turn lends itself to a less biased, more rigorous and civil process of peer review.

How does Editorial coordination work with Collections?

Collections are the perfect place to demonstrate and exercise editorial management. Collection Editors, of which there can be up to five per Collection, have the authority to manage the process of peer review, but out in the open.

They can do this by either externally inviting colleagues to review papers within the system, or if they already have a profile with us, then they can simply invite them to review specific papers, and referees will receive an invitation to peer review.

Quality control is facilitated through ORCID, as referees must have 5 items associated with their account in order to formally peer review. And to comment, all you need is an ORCID account, simples!

The major difference between a traditional Editor and a Collection Editor is selection. As a traditional Editor, you wield supreme power over what ultimately becomes published in the journal by deciding what gets rejected and what gets sent out to peer review. As a Collection Editor, you don’t reject anything – you filter from pre-existing content depending on your scope.

How do you become a Collection Editor? Email me at jon.tennant@scienceopen.com and we’ll get you set up – it’s that easy!

Higher Education Press indexing partnership with ScienceOpen

Higher Education Press (HEP) will be indexing one of their flagship Open Access journals, Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering (FASE), with ScienceOpen, adding to our current archive of over 11 million article records.

FASE is one of the leading Open Access journals in the fields of Agricultural Engineering, Resources and Biotechnology, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, Applied Ecology, Crop Science, Forestry Engineering and Fisheries, Horticulture, and Plant Protection.

By adding their content to ScienceOpen, they gain increased visibility through our platform and promotional services (like this article!), which increases its value amidst a heterogeneous global publishing market.

This cooperation between HEP and ScienceOpen helps to recognise the great work that Chinese publishers are doing to spearhead Open Access publishing, and our dual commitment to enhancing the visibility and impact of scholarly research in Engineering Science fields.

CEO of ScienceOpen Stephanie Dawson said “Open Access is a growing force in China, and we are happy to work with one of the leading publishers, Higher Education Press, to help increase the visibility of Chinese Open Access globally. We are pleased to use Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering to launch this new partnership, as it publishes excellent research in a field addressing pressing issues such as food security in a changing world.”

What are we doing with the new content?

Collection screenshot
Day 1 after releasing the Collection.

For starters, the journal now has its own Collection! This means each article can be shared, recommended, peer reviewed, and commented upon, and as the content is all OA it’s easily discoverable and accessible via the publishers website.

The advantage of this for HEP is that they gain lots of additional traffic to their content. What publisher doesn’t want that? This means more downloads, and more re-use of the research they publish, which in turn increases the quality and prestige associated with the journal brand. You can track the attention of the Collection easily via reader count aggregates, and altmetric aggregates, as seen here, as well as other measures of re-use.

Researchers can now openly peer review and re-use their content too, which adds substantial value to both the research process and the journal brand again, which are both important in a scholarly publishing system that is becoming progressively more open. We’ll report the progress in these statistics again in a month so you can see the additional attention indexing with us generates!

The Collection contains some absolutely awesome papers too! Check these examples out:

  1. Biofuels and food security. A pretty important issue, I think we can all agree on!
  2. Another on protein and food security in China.
  3. Does air pollution affect food security in China?
  4. Another page in the ongoing CRISPR
  5. How does grain leave its water footprint around China?
  6. How to get high and efficient grain yield in rice.
  7. How much food is wasted in China?
  8. Cloned sheep. Enough said.
  9. The genetic variation of Appaloosa horses from Argentina.
  10. This one has ‘gene knockout sheep’ in the title, and CRISPR.

Indexing at ScienceOpen is a great way to enhance journal visibility and facilitate maximal re-use of research content.

Who else wants to join us? J (contact CEO Stephanie.Dawson@ScienceOpen.com for more information) (press release)

In:  Collections  

Creating Collections now even easier!

In a recent post, we made a bit of a fuss about ScienceOpen Collections, even suggesting that they could be one possible future for academic-led journals! We then went on to show how you can use Collections to create your own quasi-journals based on the arXiv, similar to the concept of ‘overlay journals’.

Recently, Figshare also launched their pretty cool Collections feature, which is awesome in embracing the additional dimension of non-traditional research outputs with this concept. Figshare now joins ScienceOpen and Mendeley, among others, in recognising the value of thematic groups of digital objects, where the scope and content is defined by the research community, independent of journals and publishers.

ScienceOpen now has 175 Collections, each one representing a place to openly engage with research through peer review, discussion, sharing, and recommending. Each one is managed by a group of Editors or a single Editor, whose role is to assemble the Collection, curate it, and foster community engagement.

The value of this is twofold. Firstly, Editors create and manage a valuable resource for their communities, which anyone can openly contribute to. Secondly, this provides a platform to develop new skills for researchers: public peer review, community management, editorial control. Each of these is part of an essential and core skill-set for researchers.

download (1)

If you would like to become a Collection Editor, simply shoot us an email at: Jon.Tennant@scienceopen.com, or tweet us at @science_open if that’s your preferred method (or just leave a comment here)! All it takes to become an Editor is your interest. We don’t exclude anyone, we just want to know who is building one so we can provide the best support possible!

We look forward to working with you and making science more open 🙂

What if you could peer review the arXiv?

What is the arXiv?

The arXiv is a server that hosts ‘eprints’ or ‘preprints’ of research papers, and is a key publishing platform for many fields, particularly physics and mathematics. Founded back in 1991 by Paul Ginsparg, it currently hosts over 1 million research articles, with more than 8000 submissions per month!

Despite now being in the running for 25 years, the arXiv still represents one of the greatest technological innovations to utilise the Web for scholarly communication.

While the majority of the content submitted to the arXiv is subsequently also submitted to traditional journals for publication, there is still content which never goes beyond its confines. Irrespective of this, communities engaged with the arXiv still cite articles published there, whether or not they have been formally published in a journal elsewhere.

This is the whole purpose of the arXiv: to facilitate rapid peer-to-peer communication so that science accelerates faster. The fact that all articles are publicly available is incidental, and just happens to be a topic of major interest with the growing open access movement.

The growth of the arXiv (Source)
The growth of the arXiv (Source)

However, the arXiv is not peer reviewed in the formal sense. It is moderated, so that junk submissions can be removed, or manuscripts recategorised, but it lacks the additional layer of quality control of traditional peer review.

So while some might think this poses a risk, ask yourself this question: do you re-use articles critical to your research without making sure that you have checked and understand the research to a sufficient degree that you can appropriately cite it? Because that’s peer review, that is, and it applies irrespective of whether an article has already been peer reviewed or not.

How do you peer review the arXiv?

Continue reading “What if you could peer review the arXiv?”  

10 simple ways you can interact with ScienceOpen

Doing peer review is tough. Building a Collection is tough. Both are also time consuming, and academics are like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland: never enough time!

So while the benefits of open peer review and building Collection need to be considered in the ‘temporal trade off’ world of research, what are some other things researchers can do to help advance open science with us?

Here’s a simple list of 10 things that take anything from a few seconds to a few minutes!

You can find this on every single article record (11 million!) and interact in a multitude of ways.
You can find this on every single article record (11 million!) and interact in a multitude of ways.
  1. Rate an article. You don’t have to do a full peer review, but can simply provide a rating. Come back later and provide a full review!
  2. Recommend an article. Click, done. Interested researchers can see which articles are more highly recommended by the community.
  3. Share an article. Use social media? Share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, email, or further on ScienceOpen.
  4. Comment on an article. Members with one item in their ORCID accounts can comment on any article.
  5. Follow a Collection. See a Collection you like (like this?) Click, ‘Follow’, done.
  6. Comment on a Collection. Like with all our articles, all Collection articles can be commented on, shared, recommended and peer reviewed.
  7. Become a ScienceOpen member. It’s not needed for many of the functions on our platform, but does mean you can engage with the existing community and content more. Register here!
  8. Have you replicated someone’s results? Let them know that in a comment!
  9. Think someone’s methods are really great? Let them know in a comment!
  10. Did someone not cite your work when they should have? Let them know in a comment!

All articles can be commented on. All you need to have is a membership, and an ORCID account with just one item. Easy! Commenting can be as short and sweet or long as you like. But sometimes a comment can be worth a lot of researchers and communities, just in terms of offering new thoughts, perspectives, or validation. Also, comments are great ways for junior researchers to engage with existing research communities.

From a Collection on Perspectives in Scholarly Publishing.
From a Collection on Perspectives in Scholarly Publishing.
In:  Collections  

Use the Force..

We have new Collections coming out of our ears here at ScienceOpen! Last week, we saw two published on the bacterium Shewanella, and another on the Communication Through Coherence theory. Both should represent great platforms and resources for further research in those fields.

The latest is on the diverse field of Atomic Force Microscopy. We asked the Editor, Prof. Yang Gan, to give us a few details about why he created this Collection.

Background

This collection is to celebrate the 30th anniversary of atomic force microscopy (AFM). March 3, 1986 saw publication of the land-marking paper “Atomic force microscope” by G. Binnig, C. G. Quate and C. Gerber (Phys Rev Lett, 56 (1986) 930-933, citations >8,800) with the motivation to invent “a new type of microscope capable of investigating surfaces of insulators on an atomic scale” with high force and dimension resolution. This can be used to measure local properties, such as height, friction, and magnetism, so has massive implications for science.

Since then, AFM has given birth to a large family of scanning probe microscopy (SPM) or SXM where X stands for near-field optical, Kelvin, magnetic, acoustic, thermal, etc. More than 100,000 journal papers, ~6,000 papers/yr since 2008, have been published if one searches the Scopus database with “atomic force microscopy” or “force microscope”. On ScienceOpen, there are over 6,000 article records if one searches using the keywords “atomic force microscopy” too. Nowadays, many disciplines — physics, chemistry, biology, materials, minerals, medicine, geology, nanotechnology, etc — all benefit greatly from using AFM as an important and even key tool for characterization, fabrication and processing.

AFM setup. (Source)
AFM setup. (Source)

Continue reading “Use the Force..”  

In:  Collections  

The Time is Ripe for ScienceOpen Collections

Image Credit: Tsuji, Flickr CC BY NC-SA

With nearly 2 million scholarly articles published each year and very limited time (squeezed in between grant proposals, departmental reviews, teaching, writing and the occasional family dinner!), researchers have to pick and choose carefully which articles they read. Recommendation by trusted colleagues is one of the most important filters used by researchers to make decisions on where to focus their attention. This is where ScienceOpen Collections come in!

An academic journal provides topic-specific bundling, editorial selection, quality assurance and often a sense of community. But with shrinking library budgets, spiraling subscriptions prices and new digital tools, it may be time to look for an alternative. Why not facilitate experts themselves to create “virtual journals” after publication drawing from all available articles, regardless of publisher or journal? Readers will still enjoy the authority and selection of thought leaders, authors can enjoy the prestige of having their article “included” and the cost to the library – zero. Plus, shifting prestige to post-publication structures can also prevent “sky-is-the-limit” APCs for fancy brand journals as we move towards more Open Access.

The ScienceOpen Collections offer an expert selection of academic articles across all journals to bring out those hidden gems and undervalued new hypotheses. With post-publication peer review, rating tools and discussion forums, they also invite the reader to contribute – and on ScienceOpen every peer review report is treated as a citable published article with a CrossRef DOI.

This week we are launching several new collections. Professor Dr. Barry Marshall won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastric ulcers in 2005. In his collection “When did Helicobacter first colonise humans?” on ScienceOpen he explores the evolution and history of both the bacteria and its relationship with humans. “I appreciate the opportunity to pull together papers from different sources into a thematic collection and start a discussion around them,“ he commented.

Professor Gwyn Gould, at the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology of the University of Glasgow has begun a collection “GLUT4 Biology” to open up a discussion on the regulation of fat and muscle cell glucose transport by insulin. With an estimated 387 million people suffering from diabetes, it is essential to understand the underlying biology. Professor Gould chose to create a ScienceOpen collection because “diabetes research draws upon work published in many different disciplines and distinct journals; keeping track of this can be tricky, especially for new graduate students. I plan to use this as a forum to initiate discussion with a community of scholars interested in this area, but with a particular desire to see graduate students join in and comment on articles of note, and to suggest their own contributions.”

Professor Bernd Fritzsch, Co-Director of the Aging Mind and Brain Initiative at the University of Iowa has created a collection on “Hearing Loss and Restoration“, a topic of increasing importance for our aging society. Hearing impairment is likely the most frequent ailment of the growing cohort of seniors worldwide.  While not immediately life-threatening, it cuts seniors off their established communication pattern with possibly serious consequences on mental health and social embedding.  Making an annually updated collection of relevant papers that help people see the gain in hearing loss prevention, repair and restoration will serve to align research goals with the needed community outreach of those suffering from this social impairment.

Dr. Johannes (Jan) Velterop has been involved in developing the concept of “Nanopublications” as a means to deal with information on a large scale, at least to construct an overview of the existing knowledge in a certain field and to find possible new connections or associations in the scientific literature that are implicit and have never been explicitly published as such. It is hoped that this approach will offer a way to ingest and digest the essential knowledge contained in large numbers of relevant scientific articles that are increasingly more of a burden and less of a possibility for researchers to read one by one.

“It is as simple as pick and choose,” says Alexander Grossmann, co-founder of ScienceOpen. “My own scholarly publishing collection has already attracted 25 000 researchers. It is terrific that I can now also track the aggregated social mentions.”

With many new collections soon to join these examples, we are excited about this expanding feature. To find out more about becoming a collection editor check out our information here or contact me (Stephanie.Dawson@ScienceOpen.com).

So pick and choose your apples and let’s make an apple pie for the holidays. Together we can change scientific communication to be faster, fairer, less expensive and more open!

 

In:  Collections  

A case report a day keeps the doctor learning away!

An apple a day by Denise Cross, Flickr, CC BY
An apple a day by Denise Cross, Flickr, CC BY

Today, we’re delighted to announce our first Clinical Cases Collection, comprising six diverse studies published here and available for Post-Publication Peer Review.

These articles (and those that we hope to publish) are curated by Professor Friedrich C. Luft, Director of the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC) at Charite and Max Delbrueck Centre in the Helmholtz Association in Berlin, Germany and Dr. Nana Bit-Avragim, Physician-Scientist and Open Access Advocate.

Clinical case reports remain an essential part of lifelong learning in medicine. Reading at least one a day allows clinicians to hone their differential diagnosis skills beyond their own immediate bedside. Indeed, this knowledge is so vital for shaping the best patient outcomes that it deserves to be openly published so that everyone, regardless of their resources, can read and re-use it as they wish enabling them to:

  • Share interesting and unique disease manifestations and diagnostic methods
  • Provide invaluable first-hand source of evidence about general and novel therapeutic approaches across the globe
  • Help identify life threatening adverse reactions to medications
  • Exchange practice information and generate a wider search for evidence

To all clinicians out there we say “unlock your education doc!” by openly reviewing the articles in this collection or any that you find interesting from nearly 10 million (open articles and toll stubs) items of content on the platform. If that number sounds a bit intimidating, then remember that we have sophisticated search tools (<3 minute video), including an open citation index, to help you find exactly what you are looking for.