Thursday, June 07, 2007

Nature Precedings, a pre-print server for biomedical research

It was hard to hold off from blogging about this but I can finally write about Nature Precedings, a new free service provided by the Nature Publishing Group. The official announcement is in this editorial:
"... this site will enable researchers to share, discuss and cite their early findings. It provides a lightly moderated and relatively informal channel for scientists to disseminate information, especially recent experimental results and emerging conclusions."
"...the site will host a wide range of research documents, including preprints, unpublished manuscripts, white papers, technical papers, supplementary findings, posters and presentations."

I have been participating in the beta for some months now and as it is mentioned in the editorial it will be openly available starting next week. All documents are citable (have DOIs), are not peer-reviewed (in the formal sense) and are archived under a creative commons license (derivatives allowed). The site has the community features (tagging/commenting/rating/RSS feeds) that you would expect and that will hopefully allow for requesting and providing comments on early findings. In summary an nicer version of ArXive for biomedical research.

I think this is great news that serves on one hand to improve access to research (open access by pre-print archiving) and increase the openness of research. This can provide a place for independent time-stamping of early findings and could be improved (hopefully with community feedback) until it is appropriate for formal submission to a peer-reviewed journal.

A framework for open science (in biology) can now go from blogs/wikis to pre-print server to peer-reviewed journals. Many ideas might die along the way and many collaborations might form by connecting early findings in an unexpected way.

Of course if you are in maths/physics you have arXive and you are probably wondering what is taking us biomedical researchers so long to get into this.