Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tony Martin Interview, Part 2

ResearchBlogging.orgYesterday, I ran the first part of this two-part interview with Anthony (Tony) Martin, senior author on a new paper in PLoS ONE. The research details a rare trace fossil (figured below) left behind by a bottom-feeding fish over 50 million years ago. Yesterday's questions focused on the science - in the final installment, we'll learn more about the publishing process. (Full disclosure: I am an editor for PLoS ONE, and was the editor who handled this manuscript.)

Why did you choose PLoS ONE as a venue for the manuscript?
All three of us really liked the fact that by publishing in PLoS ONE we could better share our research with both our colleagues and the general public. All too often I’ve published papers that were read by maybe two or three dozen of my colleagues (if I’m lucky), rather than a broader audience that might also find the work really interesting. I’ve also published in journals with “pay walls” erected to prevent non-subscribers from seeing articles. I know this really frustrates some science bloggers who want to write about the original research instead of just relying on press releases or news articles. So I am becoming more enamored with making sure all science enthusiasts have free access to original research results. PLoS ONE also has published some top-notch paleontological articles in the past few years, so it’s become a high-profile place to publish, while also permitting laypeople to learn from our science.

We also thought this research made for an interesting “fish story” combined with a “detective story,” sort of Sherlock Holmes-meets-fishing-meets-paleontology-meets-spatial analysis. The study also has some visually interesting elements, which through publishing in an electronic journal we could better share through our new (and very cool) application of the Deep Zoom™ software (link here). Now anyone with an Internet connection can check out the same trace fossil analyzed in the study through the pan-and-zoom function of the software.

Was there anything about the PLoS ONE process (good or bad) that surprised you?
Not really. One of my coauthors, Gonzalo [Vazquez-Prokopec] had previously published in one of the PLoS journals and said it was a straightforward process, with timely peer review and good, thorough feedback from the reviewers and editors. I’m pleased to say that our experience was the same, and it encourages me to consider PLoS ONE for future contributions.

Which of the Green River fish would have tasted best?
I would have loved to try Priscacara liops, either pan-fried or steamed with ginger, garlic, scallions, and soy. I’m not so sure that Notogoneus osculus [the focus of the current paper] would have been nearly as tasty, especially considering that we’re even more certain now it was a bottom feeder.

A big thank you to Tony, for taking the time for this interview. Don't forget to check out the paper, if you haven't already!


Martin, A., Vazquez-Prokopec, G., & Page, M. (2010). First known feeding trace of the Eocene bottom-dwelling fish Notogoneus osculus and its paleontological significance PLoS ONE, 5 (5) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010420

Image credits: Image of the ichnofossil modified from the original paper at PLoS ONE.

1 comment:

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