The Ten Simple Rules series of articles has been one of the unexpected surprises and pleasures arising from the community journal PLOS Computational Biology. That the collection has reached one million page views (on 30th July 2013) is a testament to all involved. Young and not so young scientists, who have found the series very helpful in their professional development, often approach me at meetings indicating how useful some of the articles have been – this is truly gratifying. Some of those same people then later become authors of new additions to the series – doubly gratifying.
Upon this milestone it is worth reflecting briefly on the series’ past and looking into the future. The emphasis here is on “briefly”, for I suspect that the compact, bite-sized format of the Rules is a major reason for their success, so there is no reason to change that formula.
The series was initially driven by students, specifically the Student Council of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), who asked me to come to the major meeting of the society held in Detroit in 2005 (just after PLOS Computational Biology started) to talk about how to get published. What transpired was a very interactive two-plus hour session with lots of good thoughts thrown around. On the plane home, wanting to capture that important dialog, I turned that experience, and those shared ideas, into “Ten Simple Rules for Getting Published” and so the series was born. Since then 28 other Ten Rules have been published from a variety of authors who have professional experiences to share. This is truly a community effort from a community journal!
Topics are broad ranging – from how to collaborate to how to protect intellectual property, but all stick to the Ten Simple Rules format and all in some way are intended to help the reader in their professional development. We are still considering new additions to the series, but only in cases where there is something truly new to say, for as the series develops there is a danger of becoming repetitive. So if, after a review of what has been published already, you feel the need to share new professional experiences so others may learn from your successes and failures, do let us know by emailing your ideas for Ten Simple Rules to firstname.lastname@example.org.