Research Remix

July 24, 2007

Conversation with BMC on Open Notebook Science

Filed under: ISMB, openscience — Heather Piwowar @ 7:03 am

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ps Needless to say, my blogroll is very out of date.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.


  1. Regarding the blogroll — for moderate numbers of resources, I recommend Bloglines for keeping track of blogs via their RSS feeds. It will also generate an auto-updated blogroll from your feeds; that’s how I do my blogroll. My account is public so you can grab my feeds as an OPML file if that’s of any use.

    For staggering numbers of resources (nearly 2000 iirc), Peter Suber uses an application whose name I have stupidly lost, but I am sure he’d be happy to point you to it.

    Comment by Bill — July 24, 2007 @ 11:13 am

  2. […] on Open Notebook Science Filed under: Uncategorized — Heather Piwowar @ 11:16 am I continued my rounds of the ISMB publisher […]

    Pingback by Conversation with Publishers on Open Notebook Science « Research Remix — July 24, 2007 @ 11:16 am

  3. […] ONS Review? Filed under: Uncategorized — Heather Piwowar @ 11:22 am To quickly flush out a conversation: […]

    Pingback by ONS Review? « Research Remix — July 24, 2007 @ 11:22 am

  4. That is very encouraging. In terms of the definition of a “formal publication”, certainly when the copyright transfers from the author to the publisher it is game over (i.e. formally and terminally published)

    Comment by Jean-Claude Bradley — July 25, 2007 @ 11:25 am

  5. […] contacted Matt Hodgkinson at BMC, after reading about a discussion with Heather on her blog. Publishing data and figures on personal websites is considered by BMC to be similar to […]

    Pingback by Bioinformatics Zen » Three more journal responses on open science - Nature, PLoS, and BMC — August 10, 2007 @ 12:27 pm

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