Category: Scientific Publishing

Notes on Human Embryos

II. The 14-day rule and its implications The 14-day rule is an important landmark in the study of the development of human embryos. Established as part of the conclusions of the Warnock committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology (1), later enshrined into British law by an act of Parliament in 1990, it demarcates a line that cannot be crossed when growing human embryos ex vivo and has served as the reference for work with human embryos since. At the time, 1984, the ability to culture fertilized human eggs ex vivo did not go beyond three or four days, […]

Continue reading

The Finite Present of Future Plans

Image: Madrid after lockdown (Reuters) “The infinite present of no future plans” is a phrase by American journalist Helen Rosner that has been doing the rounds on Twitter.  This probably make sense if we think that the virus has acted as an eraser on a slate. Cities, jobs, lives have been, indeed, wiped clean and sometimes it feels as if the future will never come. However, as countries think of opening up, the present is finite and we can make plans. Covid time is a long haul with many twists and turns, a crossing that has to be negotiated steadily […]

Continue reading

Preprints in the Biomedical Sciences: The Future is Here

A few days ago, fittingly in the context of Open Access week, we had an event to explain what are preprints and how they have the potential to change communication and career development in the biomedical sciences. You can follow the recording here: http://asapbio.org/event/preprints-biomedical-science-publication-in-the-era-of-twitter-facebook. The event counted on the participation of publishers, funders and users; a summary has been posted in The Node and I encourage you to look at it and contribute to the discussion. There is much to talk about in the wake of the event. Here I shall concentrate on a few issues in the context of […]

Continue reading

Expensive or Insightful Biology?: Single Cell Analysis as a Symptom

Lists, catalogues and classifications have always been the business of the biological sciences. The nature cabinets of the XVII and XVIII centuries, the collections that occupied much of the XIX century and which fuelled the work of Darwin are good examples of this. Beetles, butterflies, fish, pigeons, plants occupied (and occupy) the time of individuals, often amateurs, interested in Nature. The nature of this enterprise is captured in Umberto Eco’s book “The Infinity of Lists” When we don’t know the boundaries of what we want to portray, when we don’t know how many things we are talking about (….) when […]

Continue reading

ASAPbio: The Dusk of Peer-Reviewed Glamour (a report from a virtual attendance)

The issue of publications of science manuscripts is reaching breaking point. Breaking in the sense of tearing down the enthusiasm of young investigators, the patience of seasoned ones and generating a lot of debate at institutional level. A few days ago, a survey by Nature News showed that more than 35% report taking 1-2 years to publish a manuscript and 20% 2-5 years (http://www.nature.com/news/does-it-take-too-long-to-publish-research-1.19320). What the bottom line of the article hid is that the time does not mean time sitting in the same journal –though some times it does- but time from submission to the first journal. For a […]

Continue reading

The case of the Irish Elk, a parable for the weight of the glamour journals

The case of the Irish Elk, a parable for the weight of the glamour journals In one of his wonderful and educational essays, SJ Gould discusses the story of the Irish Elk, a spectacular species of elk that became extinct because……well, it is unclear why but the late specimens did have a very visible trait: enormous –and I mean enormous- antlers; the elk was over 3 meters tall and had antlers 3.3 m across. There have been many theories to explain the mysterious extinction of this magnificent animal but the one Gould discusses and the one I like to think […]

Continue reading

Publish: What? Why? Where? How? – Part II: Solutions?

These are notes for a lecture given by AMA in a workshop about Responsible Research held at LMU in Munich (Germany) on 24 July 2014 (www.responsibleresearch.graduatecenter.uni-muenchen.de/index.html). The lecture is broken into two parts, the first one dealt with biomedical publishing, its origins and current state. This is the second instalment on solutions. Videos of both the lecture and the subsequent panel discussion are available at www.responsibleresearch.graduatecenter.uni-muenchen.de/presentations/videos/index.php  The problem is, to a certain degree, clear. Let me recap. What was conceived as a way to communicate between scientists and between scientists and the public has become a measure of success, a ruler […]

Continue reading

Publish: What? Why? Where? How?

These are notes for a lecture given by AMA in a workshop about Responsible Research held at LMU in Munich (Germany) on 24 July 2014 (www.responsibleresearch.graduatecenter.uni-muenchen.de/index.html). The lecture is broken into two parts, this one deals with biomedical publishing, its origins and current state. A second instalment on solutions will follow. Videos of both the lecture and the subsequent panel discussion are available at www.responsibleresearch.graduatecenter.uni-muenchen.de/presentations/videos/index.php  The answers to the title of this talk should be obvious. You want to publish your work in the most appropriate journal/place so that people know what you have done, use it in their research […]

Continue reading

The unbearable lightness of being a developmental biologist at the start of XXI century

Let us play a game. Here you have three selections from the recent indexes of three famed journals publishing in the area of Developmental Biology. See if you guess which belongs to which (sure you can put the titles in PubMed and you will find them, but try to do it blindly): Index 1 1. Large hypomethylated domains serve as strong repressive machinery for key developmental genes in vertebrates 2. Homeotic Function of Drosophila Bithorax-Complex miRNAs Mediates Fertility by Restricting Multiple Hox Genes and TALE Cofactors in the CNS 3. KFoA, a ß-catenin interacting protein linking canonical and non-canonical Wnt signalling […]

Continue reading

At the start of the World Cup: Football and the Biosciences

As the World Cup begins, perhaps there is a point of talking about Biology in the context of Football. I am a supporter of Athletic Bilbao and, like the main character in ‘fever pitch’ I sometimes see the world, life, through the eyes of football. The problem is that football has changed and so has life and that the optics need some readjustment. Football is not anymore what you breath in ‘fever pitch’. When I was a child, and even when I was an undergraduate, football was about the teams, about special players who could conjure up a moment of […]

Continue reading