Rapid Sharing of Influenza Research
Friday, August 21, 2009 at 09:08 AM EDT
The open-access Public Library of Science (PLoS) has launched PLoS Currents, a website for the rapid communication of research results and ideas. The first research theme at PLoS Currents is influenza.
Contributions that will be welcome at PLoS Currents: Influenza include research into influenza virology, genetics, immunity, structural biology, genomics, epidemiology, modeling, evolution, policy and control. The manuscripts will not be subject to peer-review, but unsuitable submissions will be screened out by a board of expert moderators. This policy will enable rapid publication of research.
The path to publishing original scientific research is often long and tortuous. A manuscript describing the findings is prepared and submitted to a scientific journal (such as Nature, Cell, Journal of Virology). The manuscript is assigned to two or three expert reviewers, generally scientists involved in the same area of research. If their reviews are favorable, the paper is published. Usually additional experiments are called for, which may require additional time to complete. Many months to a year may pass before the paper is published, although some manuscripts (e.g. those on 2009 pandemic influenza) may be expedited. The point is that PLoS Currents: Influenza will allow everyone â€“ including non-scientists â€“ to read about research soon after the authors have prepared the paper.
PLoS Currents: Influenza is a terrific idea, and I welcome this venture with great enthusiasm. I hope that PLoS Currents will grow to include other areas of science. But Varmus warns:
During peer review of submitted manuscripts, new experiments may be suggested that change some of the conclusions of the research. Hence, the papers that appear in PLoS Currents: Influenza may be different from final versions that are published elsewhere.
I wonder how other scientific journals will react to submissions of manuscripts that have appeared in PLoS Currents. Many journals do not accept manuscripts that have already appeared elsewhere. For example, the instructions to authors for the Journal of Virology state:
This article originally appeared on virology blog.