Which system of peer review for you?


It’s two years now since the journals BMC Pharmacology and BMC Clinical Pharmacology merged to create BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology. Chris Morrey, the Executive Editor for the journal marks the occasion with a birthday post over on the BMC series blog.

In merging a biology journal that has ‘traditional’ anonymous peer review (BMC Pharmacology) with a medical journal that has fully open peer review (BMC Clinical Pharmacology) what should the peer review process be? In the end, openness prevailed (in keeping with all the other medical titles in the BMC series) where the identity of the reviewers is known to all parties – editors, authors and readers.

To see what the Editorial Board – with their variety of …

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MozFest: Bringing the Web to Science


In just a month’s time from now, Mozilla will be hosting their annual Mozilla Festival (“MozFest” for short), which for the 2nd year will feature a Science Track, which this year we will be contributing to through a 3-hour sprint on author contributorship, the journal article, and the Open Badges Infrastructure. We’re organising this with our friends at PLoS, the Wellcome Trust, ORCiD, Digital Science, and Digital Me. Look out for our blog in the next few days where we’ll go into more detail about this session.

MozFest is where communities working in technology, design, education, journalism, and research come together to innovate in the space of the Web. It’s for coders and non-coders alike. Bring everything …

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Ebolavirus – Possibility and reality


The horrible crisis that is unfolding in Africa, with ebolavirus infection now threatening to become endemic, has its roots in many causes, of which the current state of understanding of the virus and the means of its control must be the least.

It’s not that we don’t know what to do

Ebolavirus outbreaks can be brought under control within weeks by established containment measures. But in this case, it was three months before the virus was recognized as the cause of the outbreak and another five before WHO declared a public health emergency, with the humanitarian response following only some weeks after that.

Meanwhile densely populated towns, and not just rural areas, are affected; the populations of the affected areas are …

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Stay pumped up. How your lifestyle, diet, and environment impact heart health


The heart. One of the body’s most vital and hardworking organs. Every day it pumps nearly 2000 gallons of blood. Such a task requires a strong heart, literally. So, you can imagine the importance of having a healthy heart.

The issue is, it’s difficult to know if our hearts are heading down an unhealthy route until it’s too late. You may be slim, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not at risk from cardiovascular disease. The fact remains that in order to keep a healthy heart, we need to adhere to a healthy lifestyle and diet.

 You and your heart – eating for two

The food we eat will impact on the heart. If we drink caffeine the heart speeds up. If …

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Cardiovascular disorders: novel therapies, prevention strategies and lifestyle interventions

Heart 3d square

Today is World Heart Day, and having recently got back from attending the European Congress of Cardiology as part of my role at BMC Medicine, it seemed an opportune moment to take you through some of the important findings discussed there.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that 17 million people die every year from cardiovascular diseases. However, the majority of these deaths could be avoided by managing risk factors such as tobacco smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful alcohol use.

To achieve control of these risk factors the WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are developing and implementing appropriate policies to tackle the challenges.

The issue of research in cardiovascular diseases in …

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Understanding the consequences of abortion

Diana Greene Foster

Findings from the Turnaway study, which aims to look at the effects of unwanted pregnancy on women’s lives, were published today in BMC Medicine. In this guest blog, Diana Greene Foster, Principal Investigator of the Turnaway study writes about her experiences in leading it.

When we started the Turnaway study, a main goal was to understand the consequences of abortion for women’s lives. A handful of researchers had posited that many women experience ‘post-abortion trauma syndrome’ – mental health disorders caused by having an abortion. Since nearly one out of three women in the U.S. has an abortion over her lifetime, such a syndrome would potentially affect millions of women.

I’m a demographer, so I naturally think about health conditions …

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Rabies: What do I need to know?


Today is World Rabies Day, an opportunity to raise awareness of the disease and how we can tackle it. We asked the Kennel Club, the society behind the journal Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, to tell us more about rabies and what is being done to protect dogs and dog owners.  Guest blogger Aimee Llewellyn, Kennel Club Health Information Manager, gives us the details.

The chances of a dog or human catching rabies are almost non-existent in many countries, including the UK and US, but it is important for owners of man’s best friend to be aware of the risks to ensure that they, and their pets, stay happy and healthy.

Everyone has heard of rabies, but most …

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Research transparency: it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when and how

HRA meeting

On 18 September 2014, following a call for comments from the Health Research Authority (HRA) on their proposals to promote transparency in research, key stakeholders met to discuss feedback on the proposals and what the next steps should be for registering and reporting clinical trials in the UK.

Times are changing for clinical research. The passing of the European Union Clinical Trials Regulation (EU CTR) in April this year will mean changes to how clinical research is approved and conducted. The EU CTR comes into effect in 2016, so it is time to learn from past mistakes and start preparing for a new paradigm.

This is what the HRA has done; it has started the ball rolling for …

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Keeping up with the Jobses: the role of technology in reproducible research

Group photo (click for full picture)

AllBio's workshop on 'reproducibility in research' saw a metaphorical bottle smashed against the bow of The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC)'s shiny new training facility.

Fueled by hackpads, marker pens and a mountain of tea and biscuits, the workshop (a mixture of research scientists, PhD students, coders, funders and publishers) set about asking the question: 'what are the barriers to reproducible research?'

Group photo (click to enlarge)

Running to stand still

AllBio was established to bring the technology of bioinformatics to a diverse set of biological disciplines, but with this workshop it stepped across to research's flipside: publishing.

Whether data or papers, it is clear that advances in technology have much to offer when it comes to improving …

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Contraception is key to reproductive health

WCD pic

Today is World Contraception Day, a worldwide campaign with a mission to improve awareness, knowledge and understanding of contraception so that a world exists where every pregnancy is planned. The health of women and their knowledge about contraception and family planning prior to pregnancy plays vital roles in ensuring a healthy pregnancy and good health outcomes for the mother and baby.

This is particularly important in empowering young people to make informed decisions, which impact on their sexual and reproductive health and is supported by Non-Governmental Organizations including The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Women Deliver (WD), as well as scientific and medical societies with an emphasis on sexual and reproductive health …

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