With the recent launch of our new online magazine Biome, we are bringing together a selection of highlights from BioMed Central journals and, in various ways, making them accessible to a broad readership. In addition, the magazine will place a spotlight on research communities, and discuss the latest developments in open access publishing.
Biome is divided into three sections, described below with a few highlights so far…
Peer review is a process integral to the scientific research cycle, and, for the majority of biology journals, one that takes place behind closed doors. In conventional blind peer review, reviewers remain anonymous to the authors, and their comments are not made available once a paper is published.
The closed nature of this review can have its problems: high-profile commentaries on lengthy, iterative review calling for an end to ‘the tyranny of reviewer experiments’ and ‘painful publishing’ have generated much discussion on the issue in recent years.
But can one of the touted solutions to the problem, namely opening up the peer review process for all to see, work in practice?
Biology Direct launched 7 years ago as a community …
To conclude Open Access Week 2012, BMC Medicine hosted a twitter chat with Stephen Curry, Mikael Laakso and Bo-Christer Björk to discuss the growth and future of open access publishing.
BMC Medicine kicked off their Open Access Week activities with the publication of a research article looking at the changing landscape of open access scientific publishing over the last decade, which, to quote Stephen Curry in his coverage of the article appearing in the Guardian, suggests that the “academic publishing game has changed irrevocably”.
To end the week the journal will be hosting a twitter chat with the article authors and Stephen Curry to discuss this growth in open access, turning our gaze to the future of open access, and the broad issues that will be relevant in next decade and beyond (Friday, 12pm UK time).
This week has seen a flurry of announcements and activity around open …
The impact of academic research has long been measured using citations, often with the Journal Impact Factor being used to assess individual publications within it. However, the Impact Factor is a journal level – not an article level – metric and, as academic publishing and the surrounding discussion moves increasingly onto the web, novel opportunities to track and assess the impact of individual scientific publications have emerged.
These web-based approaches are starting to offer an article-level perspective of the way research is disseminated, discussed and integrated across the web. The hope is that a broader set of metrics to complement citations will eventually give a more comprehensive view of article impact, and help to make the most relevant and important publications …
A ‘fishing expedition’ in an acidic, high temperature lake has led to the discovery of a previously unknown group of viruses, which might change the way we think about viral evolution.
Publishing today in Biology Direct, Kenneth Stedman and colleagues describe their metagenomic approach to investigating viral diversity in Boiling Springs Lake in Lassen National Park, California, which sustains a purely microbial ecosystem in water between 52-95°C, and at a pH of ~2.5. Here they found a unique viral genome: a circular, single-stranded DNA virus which encodes a major capsid protein, a protein which until now has only been seen in RNA viruses.
This unusual genome appears to be the result of a recombination event between unrelated RNA and DNA …
Why is it important to consider the individuality of stem cells? Can mathematical equations predict when mutations in stem cells cause potentially fatal disease? Will pluripotent stem cells be future models for disease, driving drug discovery and predicting side effects? These are some of the questions discussed in recent publications in BMC Biology as part of a thematic series on stem cells launched by three of BioMed Central’s flagship journals (BMC Biology, BMC Medicine and Genome Medicine).
To open, Arthur Lander, Consulting Editor for the series with BMC Biology, comments that current notions of stem cell biology may fail to take into account the implications of the plasticity and diversity of single stem …
Jonathan Eisen, a renowned open access advocate is awarded the tenth annual Benjamin Franklin award. This award, voted for by members of Bioinformatics.org, recognizes those providing free and open access to materials and methods in science.
Jonathan, a scientist of repute and also Academic Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Biology is a supporter of all open access journals, and has published in BioMed Central’s Genome Biology.
In addition to these academic roles, his use of social media and blogging to drive open access is especially exciting: his ‘Tree of life‘ blog is a must read for all scientists.
Congratulations Jonathan, from everyone at BioMed Central!
Marking today’s publication of the genome of Daphnia pulex in Science, a commentary in
BMC Biology by Diethard Tautz, tackles the issue of why and how this diminutive water flea has many more genes than any other animal genome
sequenced so far. An ongoing process of gene duplication and retention appears responsible for this, and as many of the recent duplicates show differential
expression in response to different environmental challenges, selection for
specific adaptations to Daphnia’s ever-changing aquatic environment must
have an important role. However,
arguments for the adaptive value of new genes are insufficient, on their own,
to explain a rate of duplication that is estimated as three times that of other
invertebrates. Tautz proposes that the …
The close of 2010 marks the end of the UN International Year of Biodiversity,
but the issues remain, and with them a surprising number of fundamental
unanswered questions. These are explored in a Q&A article -
commissioned for BMC Biology
as a contribution to the BioMed Central cross-journal thematic
series on biodiversity research – by Anne Magurran, author of two key books
on measuring biodiversity.
We all take it for granted that biodiversity is important,
suggesting that at least we know what it is, but it turns out to be surprisingly tricky to define in practice: the
key questions being diversity where, when and of what. In the light of these
difficulties it is perhaps not …