Wow, fantastic. I just had a conversation with Matt Hodgkinson, Senior Editor of the BMC series, which was worth the trip to Vienna all by itself.
While taking a break this morning from the ISMB talks and note-taking, it occurred to me that perhaps the best prep I could do for the ONS BoF was to talk to the journal publishers, all of whom happened to be standing a few feet away from me in their booths. Since I’m wearing my lovely free “I’m open” swag tshirt from BioMed Central (BMC) today, and I figured they’d be friendly to the cause, I started there.
Matt Hodgkinson will be familiar not only as an editor at BMC, but also as the author of the blog Journalology (“Science publishing trends, ethics, peer review, and open access”). I really enjoyed our informative discussion, Matt, thank you! As you read this, please feel free to clarify or add anything I’ve forgotten.
The bottom line: BMC has no hesitation considering research which has been previously posted to personal websites, blogs, wikis, and pre-print servers (as part of Open Notebook Science or otherwise), as long as it has not also been published in some formal way.
The details: Formal publishing is of course slightly difficult to nail down (they used to say “anything with a doi”, but now Nature Precedings has a doi without being considered a formal publication). A rule of thumb may be “anything with an ISSN.” Peer-review, or being indexed by PubMed, are not relevant to BMC when ascertaining prior formal publication status. Posters and abstracts are ok, conference proceedings are usually considered formal publications. Again, pre-print servers (Nature Precedings, arXiv) are fine.
Our conversation also touched on publishing clinical trial data and protocols, negative results, the fact that publishers can and do help recover data from authors who don’t respond to reader requests, the BMC policies for data sharing relative to that of other journals, and the potential for publishing about ONS. Unfort, no time to go into details now…
Once again, thank you, Matt, for your enthusiasm and time. I’m off next to talk to the folks at PLoS.
ps Needless to say, my blogroll is very out of date. I actually read many more blogs than are listed… probably why I keep running out of time to update this blog and my blogroll… hrm.