Research Remix

July 13, 2011

How about PLoS Currents: Open Science?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Heather Piwowar @ 7:24 am

So what do you think, how about a PLoS Currents: Open Science?

You may have heard of PLoS Currents… an open-access publication for the extremely rapid communication of new research findings.  PLoS Currents pushes the envelope on getting results Out There, REALLY FAST.

PLoS ONE and BMC Research Notes are fast.  PLoS Currents is faster.  DAYS from submission->publication.  How?  The reviewers, a group of expert researchers, determine ASAP if the submission “is a legitimate work of science and does not contain any obvious methodological, ethical or legal violations. As long as the work passes this test, it is published.” [about]

By being so much faster, it isn’t just faster, it is different.  More author-driven.  More oriented toward post-publication evaluation.

There are currently four PLoS Currents sections:

Here’s an example of what a PLoS Currents publication looks like.

The video on the Currents about page is definitely worth a watch.

PLoS Currents:  Open Science could include studies that *do* open science as well as studies *about* open science.

I was talking to Theo Bloom from PLoS last week.  There might be a few hurdles about timing (PLoS Currents is currently migrating away from the Google knol platform) and funding (submission to PLoS Currents is currently free, so coming to PLoS with funding for an Open Science lump of cash would certainly help), but it is definitely worth pursuing.

What would this do for those of us who believe in and do open science?  Get the science out there, faster.  Push the envelope.  Experiment.  Learn.
To recap, here is how awesome it is to publish (release? disseminate through?) PLoS Currents:

  • fast
  • free
  • open access
  • citeable
  • content in PubMed Central
  • support for versioning
  • author-controlled content, organization, and formatting (no one cares what citation format you use)
  • efficient and sustainable, in terms of system burden for peer-review, re-formatting, etc

What do you think?  Would you publish in PLoS Currents: Open Science?  Would you be a reviewer?  Would it be worth working towards this?  Are you interested in helping or leading?  Ideas for sources of lump-sum or ongoing funding?

Additional discussion threads on Google PlusFriendfeed.

ETA:  Request for funding ideas, links to discussions


  1. I would definitely try, assuming there will be a Currents in the area I publish in. Is there an Ecology, Evolutionary Ecology them coming down the pipeline? How confident are you that the post-publication peer-review will do its job? That is, will quality papers rise to the top and others fall based on comments on the papers? Is there a way to quantify it? Maybe they could allow readers to rate each paper or even just a + or – to keep it simple and fast.

    Comment by schamber — July 13, 2011 @ 7:33 am

    • They could be coming down the pipeline if a group worked towards it ;) I don’t think they are in the works right now.

      Yeah, technical (and social) support for post-publication review is still developing. I’m guessing a PLoS Currents: Open Science might be a place to experiment and learn more about what works and what doesn’t.

      Comment by Heather Piwowar — July 13, 2011 @ 7:39 am

  2. I’m not exactly sure how the “group of expert researchers” would work for something that is across all of Science. Identifying methodological violations might be hard.

    Other problems? Solutions?

    Comment by Heather Piwowar — July 13, 2011 @ 7:35 am

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