Month: January 2015

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.



In:  Announcements  

Partnering in Global Health to expand Open Access to research

GHNGN_LogoThe Global Health Next Generation Network (Global Health NGN) and ScienceOpen, are delighted to announce their partnership. This is the second such relationship for ScienceOpen, which earlier this year came together with the World Health Summit to encourage Open Access to knowledge in this field.

As the future leaders of tomorrow’s global health world, the 700 students and young professionals from various disciplines in the Global Health NGN, present a unified voice to improve knowledge exchange, strengthen training programs and promote career development in global health. You can find out more about them by reading their 2014 Barcelona conference report here. Supporting Earlier Career Researchers has been a focus for ScienceOpen since its launch in May 2014 and this announcement gives further momentum to that effort.

In the coming months, this partnership will manifest itself in publishing the scholarly output of this group where appropriate, for a discounted price and specifically conference posters that ScienceOpen will publish free of charge.

Additionally, The Global Health NGN will also be able to make use of free ScienceOpen tools such as: Groups to run Journal Clubs, Discussions and Workshops and Collections to unite Global Health content from over 1.4 million articles from leading Open Access publishers currently aggregated on the ScienceOpen platform.

ScienceOpen Editor, Nana Bit-Avragim, an MD and translational scientist with a focus on molecular and developmental Cardiology with a passion for extending the reach of Open Access in Global Health said “all of us at ScienceOpen enjoy supporting “Generation Open” in their quest to express their opinions and share research knowledge as broadly as possible, especially in a field such as this which is of such critical global importance. We look forward to a productive partnership”.

Ragna Boerma (Global Health NGN) is an MD with an MSc in Global Health, currently pursuing her PhD in Neurogenetics said, “Global Health strives for better health care for all, worldwide. Better health care starts with knowledge, which should be freely available for everyone in an equitable way. This is why Global Health NGN supports Open Access and ScienceOpen.”

If you would like to contact the Global Health NGN then please email Camila González Beiras, VP External Affairs.

Here at ScienceOpen, we’re delighted to get the New Year off to such a great start!


In:  Other  

ArXiv successfully racing toward the one million mark – what happens now?

  • About 24 years after its launch the arXiv preprint server hits 1 million articles on 29 December. The site reached that terrific target after administrators returned from holidays and updated the server with manuscripts submitted after business hours on Christmas Eve, Richard van Norden said in his report in Nature. Impressively more and more papers were posted as preprints from year to year, starting from a few hundred in the early nineties, when Paul Ginsparg initiated the arXiv site, to about 10,000 per months meanwhile.

    “Kudos to Paul Ginsparg and the arXiv team for this achievement.” (Peter Suber, 2014)

    Since more than two decades particularly physicists, mathematicians, and computer scientists were used to upload their manuscripts to arXiv to share their results with peers as a preprint prior to the submission to a standard scholarly journal. When I was working as a physicists myself, I also regularly used as a resource to browse and access the most recent findings of my colleagues. And I definitely know that I had been not the only guy who started his work in the morning in this way. The advantage of the arXiv to publicly share recent results of scholarly research has been quite obvious: only a few hours or days after a competing group had finished their draft to summarize their findings, researchers were able to read them without any delay and without any restrictions for access. Possibly this has been also one aspect which contributed to that story of success which now results in one million posts on arXiv. As an another result, most publishers meanwhile accept submissions from arXiv.
    Preprint-posts on the arXiv are not peer-reviewed because managing and controlling of that filtering process had been the monopoly of scholarly journals for decades. Nevertheless one may ask if we do need something outside the ArXiv? I discussed this question in a blog almost a year ago, based on the perspective of physicists and their attitude to foster Open Access. This question, or more generally the basic idea to combine a well-established preprint server, as the ArXiv, with something to enable and moderate the scientific discourse as a substitute of the classical peer-review process was raised some years ago by Field’s medalist Timothy Gowers. In 2011 Gowers asked in one of his blog posts how we might get to a new model of (scientific) publishing, however focused, but principally not limited, to mathematics. His visionary thoughts had been motivated by an earlier post by Michael Nielsen. Gowers suggested “something like a cross between the arXiv, a social networking site, Amazon book reviews, and Mathoverflow”. In a very systematic way, he further developed his smart idea, or his gedankenexperiment as a physicist would call it, as an “ideal world” towards future scholarly communication. The proposed (non-existing) website should be an extension of the arXiv, or simply a separate website with links to articles which were hosted at arXiv.

    “If we didn’t have journals, then what might we have instead?” (Timothy Gowers, 2011)

    Here we are: The scientific community which had been used to regularly post and access recent findings on the arXiv would then be invited to comment, rate, and discuss new posts. I personally like that concept which is straightforward and based on the experiences and the behavior of researchers over two decades. Despite the fact that the latter oberservation is true mostly for researchers from physics, mathematics and computational sciences it could be adopted in principal to all disciplines of scholarly research. Amazingly, I read Timothy Gowers’s excellent blog some time after it had been published when I had already developed the concept for ScienceOpen in 2013. Nevertheless, his visionary considerations to develop a new model for scholarly publishing and the following, very intensive discussion of these ideas within the community strongly supported me to continue developing a new website which fosters not only Open Access, but also consists of a community-based concept to evaluate scientific results in an open and transparent manner. I am confident that future workflows for publishing and quality assessment in science will be based on these principles.

    Let’s see if ScienceOpen can further contribute to this vision in 2015! Have a great start into the new year!