The oldest known [cough… African… cough] ant

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 | Ants, Metablogging, Publishing, Science, Web | 8 Comments

Here’s a perfect example of what I like about blogs becoming an integral communication tool for the scientific community and interested folks alike:

Cretaceous African ant in amber (Courtesy of Vincent Perrichot via

  1. A peer-review paper gets published;
  2. The media gets hold on the story;
  3. The blogs react: scientists and general public fill the comments section (in the genuine tone of the internets);
  4. The authors of the original paper join in the discussion.

Discussion may get heated, comments may get bitter, but the results are always rewarding for all.



PNAS will eliminate Communicated submissions in July 2010

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 | Publishing, Science | Comments Off on PNAS will eliminate Communicated submissions in July 2010

PNAScoverI have a strong feeling the following editorial in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS, USA) is in direct response to the (backstage) outcry generated over publication policies by the publication of the peculiar paper communicated by Lynn Margulis just over three weeks ago (for example here).

To clarify, I don’t have an opinion on the issue of publication policies used by the National Academy of Sciences.

PNAS will eliminate Communicated submissions in July 2010

1. Randy Schekman, Editor-in-Chief

As of July 1, 2010, PNAS will no longer allow the submission of papers “Communicated” to the journal by NAS members and will instead handle these papers as Direct Submissions. Authors are free to ask an NAS member to edit their paper as a “Prearranged Editor” prior to submission to PNAS. Assignments are handled by the Editorial Board, and members who agree in principle to edit a paper are given special consideration by the board. NAS member contributions are not affected by this policy change.

You can read the full text at PNAS’ site.

Sunday’s reflection

Sunday, May 31st, 2009 | Publishing, Science, Web | 1 Comment

jstor_logoOh JSTORE, I love you thee.


Citing blogs on scientific papers

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 | Publishing, Science, Web | Comments Off on Citing blogs on scientific papers

lusitaniaI was recently asked if one of my post could be cited as a personal communication (pers. comm.) on an upcoming scientific paper, that is, instead of citing the blog post directly. The authors of the paper foresee (quite rightly I believe) that the journal will not accept the reference to this electronic media, hence the need for the well accepted and common alternative. › Continue reading


RSS feeds for Zootaxa

Monday, May 11th, 2009 | Publishing, Science, Web | 1 Comment

zootaxaIn trying to stay afloat up-to-date on the scientific papers in my areas of interest I find that Table of Contents (TOCs) e-mail alerts and RSS feeds offered by the journal publishers are all I need (well, that and a lot of time to read through all those papers, take some notes and sort them out into my nifty digital filing system).

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On being an editor for Nature

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 | Publishing, Science | Comments Off on On being an editor for Nature

Quick! Feed him another one before he falls asleep!Nature editor Henry Gee has an honest post about how is it like to hold such an important job (important for us at the other side of things):

Every now and then I get asked to a lab or seminar to give a talk about what I do as an editor at Nature, apart from lie on my back being fed grapes by flying babies.

I see before me a wall of faces, agog and drooling amazed to discover that Nature editors are almost really human.

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New open access journal in Evolutionary Biology

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 | Publishing, Science | Comments Off on New open access journal in Evolutionary Biology

Trends in Evolutionary BiologyI received some word about an upcoming  open access journal called Trends in Evolutionary Biology.

I have to confess that by the journal’s name and cover design I initially thought, with excitement, that it was a new open access experiment by Cell Press, publisher of the high-end and successful family of “Trends” journals. I was particularly intrigued since Cell Press already publishes Trends in Ecology and Evolution or TREE as it is called inside the cool geek1 circle of evolutionary biologists.

It turns out to be a journal published by PAGEPress, located in Pavian, Italy. PAGEPress seem to be starting a whole series of titles in medicine and biology.

The journal description is a little odd though:

Trends in Evolutionary Biology is a new Open Access journal concerned with the origin of species from a common descent and descent of species, as well as their modifcation[sic], multiplication and diversity over time.

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  1. Please excuse the contradiction.


Open access is good for us

Friday, February 20th, 2009 | Databases, Publishing, Science | 2 Comments

A paper published in today’s Science Magazine1 shows that citation of scientific papers increases as journals switch to allow free and unrestrictive access of their content online. This seemingly intuitive result becomes interesting when paired with the observation that open access has a great positive impact in developing world participation in global science.

› Continue reading

  1. Evan, JA and J. Reimer. Open Access and Global Participation in Science. Science 20 February 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5917, p. 1025 | DOI: 10.1126/science.1154562

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Read–write culture

Thursday, January 15th, 2009 | Publishing, Science, Web | Comments Off on Read–write culture

The Books and Arts section in this week’s Nature has a review of the new book by Lawrence Lessig called Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. Lessig is founder of Creative Commons, from which Science Commons recently spawned (see my earlier post). › Continue reading

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The worst hangover I ever had

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 | Humor, Publishing, Science | 3 Comments

I did my undergraduate studies in Biology at UNAM in Mexico City. While this institution holds the best science libraries in the country, there was always the odd paper I couldn’t find, especially when it came to insect taxonomy with its plethora of obscure journals. Add to this that electronic journals had yet to come into existence (it’s not that I am old, they are really a very recent phenomenon).

Back then, getting papers in the subject of one’s interest consisted in meticulously thumbing  through the heavy telephone books for animals called Zoological Records*, writing down some potentially useful references, and filling a petition for copies at a special place in campus that dealt with international inter-library loans. After that, you only had to wait a couple of weeks to get photocopies of some papers that were not quite what you were looking for. It felt like I was doing some serious research nevertheless. › Continue reading


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And as we discussed last semester, the Army Ants will leave nothing but your bones.
- Tom Waits