How to publish a paper

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We held some meetings to discuss future publishing models - notes/discussion can be found here.


General information

See the following editorial

Ten Simple Rules for Getting Published
PLoS Computational Biology 28 October 2005 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.0010057
Philip E. Bourne
full text PDF reprint

How to write a paper in scientific journal style [1]

Publishing via DSpace

We are in the process of creating a community on DSpace through which we can publish digital materials.

Why should scientific publications be open access?

Some of the more compelling reasons. (This is by no means complete so feel free to add to it).

Note: many of these reasons are based on talks I've heard by Rich Roberts (NEB), Peter Murray-Rust and Hal Abelson (video). -Reshma

  1. At least in the United States, most scientific research is funded entirely or partially with federal tax dollars. So if tax payers are paying for scientific research, shouldn't they be able to access the results of that research?
  2. Since journals are increasingly coming under monopoly control by a handful of publishers, they are able to price journal subscriptions very high. So high that university libraries are unable to afford subscriptions to all the journals that university researchers need. This in turn poses a problem for scientists trying to access previously published research. Effectively this situation creates a rich-poor gap for scientific information.
    Note: For relatively rich institutions like MIT, this poses a relatively minor problem. Despite rising costs, the MIT libraries still provide access to most of the journals the university resarch community requires (in my experience). For scientists at other research institutions, this is often not the case. For example, at the University of Utah, there were times that I was unable to access a copy of a relevant paper because no library in the state carried either a paper or electronic copy of the article. My impression is that this is a phenomenon that many people at the "elite" institutions don't realize. Keep in mind that the University of Utah is a pretty prominent U.S. research institution with lots of very well-respected scientists but yet grapples with this problem. I would imagine that the situation can be much worse at poorer universities and research institutions. -Reshma
  3. Scientists provide their work to journals for free. Depending on the journal, publication in the journal means giving up all or part of the rights to your own scientific work and writing forever (or close to it).
  4. Quality science requires that scientists have access to each other's results for purposes of review and replication of experiments. Moreover, science has at its heart the goal of eduation. Both of these require that people actually be able to read previous work.
  5. Dissemination of information via the web has become ridiculously easy. Now that it is feasible to make scientific information accessible to all, we have a reponsibility to do so.
  6. Scientists are generally smart people. If any group of people can find a way out of this mess, shouldn't we be able to?
  7. Many studies show that open access articles are cited more and have higher impact.
  8. It's the right thing to do.


Citation studies showing that open access articles are more cited.

Copyright information for journals and publishers.

Science Commons is interested in promoting free access in various areas of science.

Budapest Open Access Initiative wants to make research articles available to all in all academic fields.

DSpace is a digital repository system for archiving research materials.

BioMed Central is "an independent publishing house committed to providing immediate free access to peer-reviewed biomedical research". Quoted from About BMC

PubMed Central is "the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature". Quoted from their homepage

Public Library of Science is "a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource." Quoted from About PLOS

Scientific Publications: Free for all? html pdf is a report prepared by Science and Technology committee, House of Commons, United Kingdom.

NIH's open access policy strongly encourages NIH-funded researchers to make their research publications open access. Their policy stops short of requiring it.

Wiki and homepage of Peter Murray-Rust's group at the University of Cambridge. His group wants scientific information to be not only openly-accessible to all but also provided in a useful (i.e. machine-understandable) form. Check out his presentations for a talk about the Chemical Semantic Web.

BioForge is a community aimed at organizing open source biology projects. These projects are released under licenses similar to those of open-source software, enabling their use for commercial enitities so long as derivative works and improvements are released back to the community. Most notably, Transbacter was developed and released under this license as an alternative to the patent-laced methods for bacteria-mediated gene transformation in plants.

BIOS stands for Biological Innovation for Open Society and is the organization responsible for bioforge and the licenses which underly it.

DAREnet is the initiative by the Netherlands to make all Dutch academic research output freely accessible online.

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