A Nature Insight has recently been published on the topic of quantum coherence. Improvements in techniques to manipulate light and matter are facilitating exciting applications of quantum mechanics. Scientists from diverse areas of research are now seeking to harness and exploit quantum coherence and entanglement for quantum simulations and quantum information processing. In light of the new Large Hadron Collider, which will be ready for use at CERN in August, this Nature Insight features an editorial, progress report, and reviews describing the current state of research and implementation of quantum coherence across a range of scientific disciplines.
Elsevier, a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, has recently announced the publication of Bioscience Hypotheses, a new journal for radical hypotheses on topics throughout the life sciences.
The aim of the journal is to stimulate innovation by choosing work that is interesting and challenging, and provides a clear and coherent argument with a testable conclusion. Bioscience Hypotheses is edited by Dr William Bains, biotechnology entrepreneur and innovator, and visiting lecturer at the University of Cambridge.
The journal welcomes papers that:
• deliver new insight into the understanding or application of biology that could be of interest to a wide life science readership
• are clear, coherent, and lay out an argument that is easy to follow
• are not incompatible with known fact (although they may contest the interpretation of those facts)
• provide an interpretation, hypothesis or solution that is testable.
Papers that do not provide a means of testing their conclusion, or differentiating their conclusion from other explanations, will be rejected. Papers that provide some preliminary data (itself perhaps not sufficiently robust to be published as an independent paper, but nevertheless rigorously collected) will be welcomed. However, preliminary data are not a requirement for publication, and Bioscience Hypotheses is not a forum for new experimental results unless they are supporting a broader theoretical structure.
Papers are not subject to standard peer review, but are selected by the Editor on the basis of the criteria laid out above. The journal explicitly does not publish papers addressing medical issues, which should continue to be directed to the sister journal Medical Hypotheses.
The open access journals associated with Biomed Central have announced some exciting milestones in the last week.
BMC Medical Genomics has just published its first articles. This journal hopes to maximize the visibility of the recent explosion in genomic technology and genome sequencing projects, and help to augment the impact of this research in medicine.
Further, the Mathematical Biology section of Biology Direct was launched recently. This section is overseen by Andrei Yakovlev, and supported by an international Editorial Board.
The Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance has recently moved to BioMed Central’s open access publishing platform.
Finally, BMC Public Health has become the first medical journal in the BMC-series to publish the 1000th paper. The publication is ranked by SCImago in the top quarter of public health journals and its articles have been cited nearly 2,500 times.
Nature Publishing Group (NPG) announced the launch of Nature India on February 1, a new website highlighting the best scientific research from researchers based in India. Nature India aims to be the one-stop site for information on Indian science, and is the first multi-disciplinary website dedicated to covering the best research from India. NPG’s second country-specific portal, Nature India follows the successful launch of Nature China in 2007.
“We are delighted to be launching Nature India,” comments David Swinbanks, Publishing Director for NPG. “The quantity and quality of scientific output from Asia has been rising dramatically in recent years and India is a major contributor. But it is
still hard to find information on where the best research is being done and by whom. Nature India, like Nature China, addresses this by providing timely information on some of India’s best research.”
India consistently ranks in the top 20 countries for number of papers published, according to Thomson Scientific’s Essential Science Indicators (ESI). However, India falls outside ESI’s top 20 countries for both citations and citations per paper. Nature India should help to raise the visibility of high quality research from the region, bringing it to a wider audience within India and around the world.
Nature India will feature short ‘Research Highlights’ of interesting, recently-published articles by authors based in India from across the scientific and medical literature. There are more chances to interact with the site and with colleagues through an
active forum on Nature Network and via the Indigenus blog. Nature India also features jobs, events, science news, feature articles, and commentaries on contemporary issues affecting Indian science. Further, readers have free access to some
handpicked premium content from NPG journals via Nature India.
With the upcoming launch of BMC Research Notes, which will have a strong data focus, BioMed Central’s development team has been hard at work improving the handling of additional material files. According to their website, one request frequently placed by from authors is to make it possible to upload collections of files that can be conveniently navigated in the web browser - essentially a miniature website associated with the article. This functionality has now been added to the BioMed Central publication system.
The BioMed Central homepage offers instructions for uploading these ‘mini-websites’ as a ZIP file. Readers of the published article will have a choice of whether to download the ZIP file to view locally on their own machine, or alternatively they can follow a link to view the contents of the ZIP file via the BioMed Central website. The first publications with this functionality have now been published, with an excellent example available from BMC Evolutionary Biology.
Recently, the National Academy of Science and the Institute of Medicine co-released the freely downlaodable book “Science, Evolution and Creationism” (SEC). Written by a group of experts assembled by the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, the SEC was intended to explain the fundamental science, to document the evidence in support of biological evolution, and to evaluate the alternative perspectives offered by advocates of various kinds of creationism, including “intelligent design.” The book explores many inquiries being pursued that apply to prevent and treat human disease, develop new agricultural products, and foster industrial innovations. The book also presents the scientific and legal reasons for not teaching creationist ideas in public school science classes. Aware of school board battles and recent court decisions, the SEC argues that science and religion should be viewed as different ways of understanding the world rather than as frameworks that are in conflict with each other and that the evidence for evolution can be fully compatible with religious faith.
Over the past few days, Peter Jordan’s blog on Nature.com has offered a review of the SEC and also has discussed its place in the current and relevant media, including publications such as the New York Times, books by Professor Richard Dawkins, and the theories of celebrated evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould. Both the SEC and Jordan’s blog offer excellent resources to those individuals interested in the debate surrounding evolutionary biology, from either a scientific or religious perspective.
Notes for projects that never come to form part of a published paper can too easily be disgarded, leaving results unreported and leading to the duplication of experiments.
Last week BioMed Central announced the launch of BMC Research Notes. Covering all areas of biology and medicine, the new service will provide a peer-reviewed platform for short publications, case series, incremental updates to previous work, results of individual experiments and similar material. Launching in early 2008, the site is currently looking for researchers to assist in the new venture.
Meanwhile, a podcast is available of Sundar Raman’s inteview with BMC’s publisher, Matthew Cockerill. We also interviewed Matthew back in January for our piece ‘BioMed Central Branches Out‘ and the new podcast provides an interesting overview of the history of BioMedical Central, focusing particularly on the relevance of open access in an interconnected world. Matthew describes his vision of ‘a new role for the publisher that makes sense in a digital environment’ and outlines how BMC goes beyond the model of publishers transferring traditional content online by using the power of the intenet to serve researchers. The interview also covers the economic aspects of open access business models.
Biology Image Library is a new online resource from BioMed Central, providing high-quality biology-related images, movies, illustrations and animations. The site is aimed at both researchers and educators.
Access is by subscription but a free trial is also available.
Explaining the reasons for launching the Library, BioMed Central’s Matthew Cockerill says:
“Researchers often maintain their own collections of useful images, but until now there has been no easy way for others to find them. By annotating the best images, making them searchable and accessible, and licensing them to allow convenient reuse, Biology Image Library will help academics and other biologists to illustrate their work and to create eye-catching presentations and course material.”
All content comes from peer-reviewed sources, to ensure scientific accuracy. Images are selected for their scientific interest and the quality of annotation, not just their visual impact.
Subjects covered include developmental biology, histology & pathology, immunology, microbiology & parasitology, molecular & cellular biology, neuroscience and plant biology.
The site invites both commercial and non-commercial contributions to their image collection.
Journal of Biological Engineering is a new, open access, independent journal, which covers all aspects of biological engineering.
Topical areas include:
* synthetic biology and cellular design
* engineering of biomolecular and cellular devices
* bioproduction and bioproduct engineering
* ecological and environmental engineering
* biological engineering education and the biodesign process
Explaining the need for the new journal, Editor Mark R Riley says:
“Prior to publication of JBE there is no refereed publication that encompasses the breadth and depth of biological engineering as a science-based discipline, rather than a collection of applications.”
The journal is the flagship publication of the Institute of Biological Engineering.
OncologySTAT is the more impressive of the two. It is open to anyone and features over 100 peer-reviewed journals. DoctorPortal is available only to doctors and contains extended content for two magazines - Doctor and Hospital Doctor - plus space for discussion.
While these new resources provide free access to content previously available only to paying subscribers, it is interesting to note how Elsevier is trying to recoup some of the money it would previously have gathered through subscription fees. Both sites are funded by advertisements, and require registration. In theory, the registration list could be sold on to advertisers.
Also, as noted on Peter Suber’s Open Access News page, users are forbidden from copying and distributing any content, which is far from the ideal of allowing copying as long as the source is properly cited.