Friday, February 27, 2009

PLoS ONE's Paleontology Collection

As many of my posts over the past month have emphasized, the online open access journal PLoS ONE has been a hotbed of interesting papers relevant to paleontologists. Pterosaurs, Triceratops, whales, stromatolites, rodents and friends have been featured on the digital pages of this publication. Of course, the journal covers many other topics, too. So how is a paleontologist to find those papers immediately relevant to his or her research, among all of the other interesting papers on topics ranging from genetics to mathematics?

Enter PLoS ONE's Paleontology Collection. This is an open collection of articles--meaning that it is continually updated and augmented as new research is published in the journal. Everything the journal has ever published on paleontology is there! Right now, this includes a grand total of 26 articles, six of these in the first two months of 2009 alone. Contrast this a closed collection at PLoS ONE, which is a one-time conference proceedings or similar compendium of research.

Why should we care? Speaking selfishly, this will allow us to easily access all articles in our field. All future articles are automatically added to the collection. This means that if you don't want to wade through all of the other contributions on the PLoS ONE list (although there are some very interesting ones!), you can just keep an eye on the paleontology collection for any and all exciting developments. In a broader sense, this collection will help paleontologists to reach an even broader audience.

And once again--take advantage of the comment, note, and rating features at PLoS ONE (as outlined in my previous post). It's really a unique opportunity to interact with authors, make your thoughts known, and help science march onward. If you have that really cool piece of research, submit your manuscript!

To see what PLoS ONE has to say about the collection, point your browser here.

Image Credit: Mark P. Witton (see Witton and Naish, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002271)


Mike Keesey said...

Wonderful! I am really liking PLoS ONE.

There's only one dark side to it....

If you have that really cool piece of research, submit your manuscript!

Change that to, "If you have that really cool piece of research and $1300 lying around, submit your manuscript!" They have some hefty publishing fees.

Waivers are available, though. More info here.

Andy said...

The waivers are truly a wonderful thing, particularly for paleontologists with small budgets. Some universities (such as UC Berkeley) also have funding available for their students, faculty, and staff to pay open access charges. I think (or at least hope) that more institutions will be taking this track - they have the potential to save money in the long-run over the rapidly escalating subscription fees required by Elsevier and the like. Furthermore, these publishing fees are probably going to be written into more and more grants ("page charges" are a pretty common, and accepted, item in many NSF grants already).

Mike Keesey said...

Yeah, it's a great system for most researchers ... just not for me. :)