Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Journal, All-New Rules

(Article in the Times Higher Education by Paul Jump)

3 major biomedical funders UK Wellcome Trust, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US and the Max Planck Society are proposing to launch their own as yet untitled open access  journal next summer.  The funders have confirmed that the journal will span the Life Sciences, will be open to all researchers and will be edited by senior practising scientists without interference from the funders.
The impetus has come from a belief that the process of peer review needs to be owned by professional scientists. They cite what they term as the level of “nitpicking” that is going on unchecked because editors do not have the scientific knowledge to know when to call a halt.
The reviewers for the new journal (who may be paid) will commit to completing the review process in 3 to 4 weeks. The point was also made that journal editors are worried about the impact of their journal and will favour “ paradigm shifting discoveries “over solid scientific work.   Dr. Tijan (President of the Howard Hughes Institute said “but very often what happens in complex biological systems is the first few papers are wrong. Interest wanes..when in fact the best science is done two years down the line.”
 While there is opposition to the idea on the grounds that a journal needs professional editors,and that it would be better to make existing journals open access ,the last word goes to Dr. Tijan
 “Cost is not the biggest thing for us. We are more interested in the quality of the published papers and how to make the editing process efficient and rapid”.
Read the entire article in Times Higher Education 7-13, July, 2011, available online

Friday, July 8, 2011

Keeping versions of files

A Versions Toolkit has been produced by the Versions project in the UK. This is a guide for Researchers and Repository Staff in the context of Open Access. It offers advice on how to manage and organise your information in a digital world. You can download the full version of the toolkit here. However, their top 5 hints with regards to the different versions of your files are
  1. Consider and plan how you will store and name your personal versions of files.
  2.  Keep permanently your own Author-Created Submitted Versions and Final Author-Created Accepted Versions of your research publications.
  3. Add the date of completion of manuscript to the first page of any versions you create, especially the milestone versions.
  4. Consider carefully how you will disseminate your work before signing any agreeements with the publishers and keep a copy of all signed agreements.
  5. Deposit your work in an open access repository and think of your readers by guiding them to your latest and published versions 

Journal Articles
In this context it is useful to be aware of the most popular versions of a journal article which are generally termed as the Pre-Print, the Authors Final Version,the  Published Version.
The Pre-Print is the pre-refereed version. This is the version that will be submitted to a Publisher to go through a peer review process.
The Authors Final Version is the version the author receives back for proof reading after the article has been through the peer review process and all changes have been made. While it may have the publishers name on it, there will be no volume or issue information and  it may have "draft" or "submitted"imprinted on it . In most cases, this is the version you can put up on an open access repository
The Publishers PDF...this is the article as published, it will have the publishers branding on it and full citation information. In most cases you are not permitted to upload this version to an open access repository.