PLoS ONE: Five Years, Many Milestones

PLoS ONE is five years old today – warmest congratulations to everyone who makes this journal a success! On Friday, we celebrated our landmark anniversary with cake and champagne alongside the current and former staff and Academic Editors who have worked so hard to support PLoS ONE.
Birthday cake

The lovely cake that we shared at PLoS ONE's 5th birthday party on Dec. 16, 2011

As we look back over the the past five years and forwards to the next five, it’s interesting to review the original motivation for PLoS ONE as articulated by one of our co-founders, Mike Eisen:
Scientists are eager to apply the awesome power of the Internet revolution to scientific communication, but have been stymied by the conservative nature of scientific publishing. PLoS ONE redefines what a scientific journal should be – eliminating needless barriers between authors and their audience and transforming the published literature from a static series of articles into a dynamic, interconnected, and constantly evolving resource for scientists and the public.

Where Have We Come From?

The journal launched on 20th December 2006 and the occasion was marked by a minor earthquake in the vicinity of our offices. The tremors might have been a first clue to the seismic changes that would soon occur in the publishing landscape.

The journal was formally conceived by the PLoS Founders in May 2005 (although it had been anticipated by them several years earlier in PLoS’s history). At the time, it was named PLoS Reports but, in the months before launch, it was renamed PLoS ONE to reflect the journal’s concept as being the one potential home for all science.

PLoS ONE represented the biggest step to date in PLoS’s attempt to reinvent the prevailing system of science communication that had existed since the 17th century. The idea was simple: to reduce the time it takes to publish papers by providing a single location that would guarantee acceptance to any research that had been conducted and reported adequately (as determined by objective editorial criteria). The ‘impact’ of the paper would then be decided by the readers (after publication), not by editors and reviewers before publication. In doing so, the journal consciously sought to separate the act of deciding whether or not a paper should be published (a decision which clearly needs to be made ‘pre-publication’), from any evaluation of the significance or importance of that article (a determination which is best made ‘post-publication’).

The growth of PLoS ONE exceeded even the most optimistic predictions. In the first full year of publication it published 1,230 articles (making it larger in volume than all but about 100 journals) and, within 4 years, it became the largest peer-reviewed journal in the world. To date, PLoS ONE has published more than 28,700 articles and in 2011 alone it will publish almost 14,000 articles (meaning that approximately 1 in 60 of all articles indexed by PubMed for 2011 will have been published in PLoS ONE).

Although simple, the approach was radical and innovative (as demonstrated by the awards it went on to receive from the ALPSP (pdf) and SPARC). According to Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, since it opened its door to submissions in August 2006, PLoS ONE has become a “game changer” in the publishing industry.

One particular innovation that helped define PLoS ONE has been the provision of ‘Article Level Metrics’ on every published manuscript (something which is actually provided on all PLoS articles). With ALMs, in addition to ‘traditional’ metrics such as citations, authors could now see detailed information about the total views and downloads of their paper, as well as information about blog coverage, social bookmarks and so on. This program was introduced in 2009 at least in part to represent an alternative means of measuring an article’s merits post-publication and it continues to be developed by us and by others.

In addition to wide readership and high citation rates, articles published by PLoS ONE have always generated significant media coverage, for example appearing in The New York Times Science section 6 weeks running and even inspiring a Google Doodle on one occasion. Research on antiviral therapeutics, a possible fourth domain of life, and a group of articles that shares an inventory of species distribution and diversity in key global ocean areas are just a few of the most recent examples of the cutting edge research that has been covered by media outlets from around the world.

To what can we attribute this success?  First of all, PLoS ONE came from the Public Library of Science – a well-established, not-for-profit publisher that had already proven itself as a trusted venue for high quality peer-reviewed publications (PLoS Biology, PLoS Medicine, and the PLoS Community Journals) – clearly PLoS ONE would not have been as successful without the support and brand recognition that those journals provided. Secondly, it seemed that Academics are increasingly realizing that the ‘game’ of submitting to a top journal and working down a ‘rejection ladder’ until a journal accepts the paper is a waste of everyone’s time and resources, and that PLoS ONE circumvents that process. And thirdly, it feels like an idea whose ‘time has come’ – as the movement towards Open Access to all journal content grows, it seems inevitable that a publishing model such as PLoS ONE will emerge as one of the most effective ways to publish scientific content.

Of course, none of the reasons listed above would have mattered at all, were it not for the many thousands of Academic Editors, peer reviewers and staff members who have provided their time and energy for the journal. In particular, the journal would not exist without our authors – a vital stakeholder group who have been supportive since day one. To date, we have published the work of over 100,000 authors and we regularly receive outstanding feedback from them via our Annual Author Surveys.

In the early days, some critics felt that the journal risked becoming a “vanity press”, and that any journal that aimed to publish “anything publishable” would naturally become a venue for poor quality papers. What we saw instead were carefully reviewed papers that only made it into press if they met our objective criteria for sound science and reporting. This came about with virtually no pressure from within – indeed, one might say that the secret to our success is that we have allowed our independent Academic Editors full autonomy to decide what is ‘good enough’ to be published, and they have done so by applying the standards and norms of academia to our unique publication criteria. By combining this approach with a series of strict checks and balances at the point of submission, and a separation of the financial from the editorial aspects of the journal, we have proven to the scientific community that we are serious about our goal of changing the status quo of scientific communication, and that we intend to do so in a high quality, transparent, and ethical manner.

Of course, our success has not gone unnoticed and, in the past year or so, a slew of PLoS ONE ‘clones’ have been launched by other publishers (some of whom had been quite skeptical of the PLoS ONE model in years gone past). Although we welcomed Nature Publishing Group to the party with a somewhat tongue in cheek post (and with a request to improve their copyright license), it is a fact that we genuinely welcome these new entrants. We believe that more PLoS ONE clones are a good thing that will accelerate the move towards full Open Access, and away from the current system whereby articles are reviewed by a chain of journals for the sole purpose of stratifying them according to their perceived ‘impact’. We expect that more clones will launch in the coming years and, provided they employ full ‘CC BY’ copyright licenses, we will continue to encourage them.

Where are we going?

What does the future hold for PLoS ONE? Well, firstly we will continue to develop our systems to accommodate the kind of growth we have seen so far. This includes a root to branch overhaul of our publication platform (which will take some time to realize, but which is already underway); an improved submission and peer review system; and increasing numbers of Academic Editors and reviewers. Secondly, we plan to improve our Article Level Metrics to a point where they will provide genuinely valuable context about individual articles and hopefully be more widely used and understood by decision makers such as tenure committees and funding bodies. Thirdly, we will be developing new and powerful ways to navigate our platform. And finally, we intend to continue experimenting and pushing the boundaries of academic publishing – PLoS ONE has already proven to be be a phenomenon in the Academic Publishing world, but we feel it has tremendous potential to further change the way that scientific research is communicated!

We would like to use the occasion of our 5th birthday to thank everyone who has believed in PLoS ONE and given their time and energy to make it the success that it is today.

PLoS ONE Milestones on Dipity.

This blog post was written by Peter Binfield (Publisher of PLoS ONE & the PLoS Community Journals), Damian Pattinson (Executive Editor of PLoS ONE) and Jackie Thai (Editorial Manager of PLoS ONE), with support from Jennifer Laloup (Publications Manager of PLoS ONE) Nick Ellinwood (Sr. Publications Assistant of PLoS ONE) and Stacy Konkiel (Marketing Associate of PLoS ONE). For further information about PLoS ONE, you can view a video of Pete Binfield presenting information about the journal to the COASP 2011 meeting; read the PLoS Biology Editorial published on 20 Dec 2011; or read this paper (PDF) which was presented at ELPUB 2009.

Category: General, Open Access | Tagged , | 4 Comments

How deep social network “roots” help scientists communicate their research

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about how social networks can specifically help scientists collaborate and spread their messages more effectively. Researchers like Heather Piwowar, Alistair Dove, and Jonathan Eisen have received recognition from fellow scientists and even the international press due to their savvy use of platforms like Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, and (more recently) Google+ when promoting themselves and their projects.

We’d like share with you their stories as examples of how three scientists at very different places in their careers use social networking tools to gain influence in their field.

Dr. Heather Piwowar (Postdoctoral Research Associate at Duke University, co-funded by DataONE, NESCent, and Dryad)

Heather

Courtesy of H. Piwowar

In the world of scientometrics, there are few young researchers these days making as many waves as Dr. Heather Piwowar. How do I know that? As a fellow junior researcher interested in scientometrics, I’ve found that there’s no better way to receive up-to-the-minute recommendations on interesting white papers, insider’s information on invitation-only conferences like #scifoo, and thought-provoking observations than by following Heather on two online services where I already spend a lot of time: Twitter and Google Reader.

What’s notable about Dr. Piwowar’s use of social media is that she very rarely indulges in self-promotion. Rather, she uses social media to engage other researchers: “Tweeting, blogging, friendfeeding, creating public Mendeley groups, etc. helps me find and be found by some of the most enthusiastic, engaged people in my area.  I learn what they think, what they are working on, and sometimes a bit about who they are.  They get to know me and what I do.  As a result, I do better work and my work gets more exposure.”

Piwowar also points out that social media, as an engagement and networking strategy, is strong in two areas where traditional forms of academic feedback are weak: timeliness and connecting far-flung researchers.

She notes, “Data finds data then people find people” is really true… when you start sharing information about your research passions and seeking other shared info relevant to your work, all of a sudden you find new groups of people who are about the same things you do.  Some of them turn into collaborators, and a few into friends.

Time well spent, no doubt about it.”

Blog | LinkedIn | Twitter | Mendeley

Dr. Alistair Dove (Senior Scientist at the Georgia Aquarium Research Center)

Courtesy of A. Dove

Dr. Alistair Dove, a Senior Scientist at Georgia Aquarium Research Center—the world’s largest aquarium—is what could be called a “trust agent,” imparting insights into his deep-sea research via Twitter and his blog, Deep Sea News, while engaging the public in science.

Dove explains, “If you have, say, a thousand followers on Twitter, that’s like talking to a large auditorium every time you tweet something about your science: a powerful tool indeed.  A direct line like that means the scientist can ensure that their science is accurately portrayed and that they have an opportunity to share with the public the personal passion that drives them to science in the first place.” A great side effect of all this communication with the public? If you do it well, recognition of your name and your contributions to research will increase among your colleagues, as well.

[Facebook and Twitter] are legitimate, powerful communication tools and scientific funding agencies want to see that you are considering them (and Apps, and Google Earth and all the other tools) as part of the plan for sharing science with the public.  Social media can help you get funded, help popularise your work, and help educate, entertain and inform the public, and I reckon that’s what it’s all about.

Blog | LinkedIn | Twitter

Dr. Jonathan Eisen

I believe in making it easy for people to find information and stories and such.

[20080408_eisen_jonathan_09.jpg]

Courtesy of J. Eisen

Evolutionary biologist, microbiologist, and genomics researcher Dr. Jonathan Eisen prefers using social media to the traditional press release.  Eisen, a professor at the University of California, Davis explains how he went about garnering attention for his manuscript, Stalking the Fourth Domain in Metagenomic Data: Searching for, Discovering, and Interpreting Novel, Deep Branches in Marker Gene Phylogenetic Trees, using his social networks.

Eisen explains, “I emailed the paper to a few contacts who are reporters (Carl Zimmer, for example) and told them I would be posting more information about the story behind the paper on my blog.  Then I wrote the detailed background story on my blog and when the paper came out of its embargo, I made the blog post live and then emailed a bunch of people the link to the paper and the blog post.”

He continues, “I posted these links to Facebook and twitter and my blog too — and since I have been working to build up my social networks for many years this at least got the message out to a few people.   One of those fortunately was PZ Myers, who writes the Pharyngula blog, and he posted a little discussion of how I had avoided a press release and that generated enormous web attention.  This, along with the article in the Scientist and on Carl Zimmer’s blog, was enough to get some attention around the web.  I think this helped convince others to write about it, including The Economist, which wrote a story for their online and print editions.”

Eisen’s experience shows that having a well-cultivated and engaged circle of social media friends and followers can help expand the impact of your work, even if you don’t follow traditional routes to publicize it.

Blog | LinkedIn | Twitter | Mendeley

If you are interested in learning more about how to collaborate and spread your own scientific messages using social media, check out the following links:

Category: Internet/Blogging, Interviews, Social Media | Tagged | 4 Comments

PLoS ONE Authors Receive “Best Environmental Epidemiology Paper” Award

Authors James H. Fowler and Nicholas A. Christakis have received an award from the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) for their much talked about paper, “Social Network Sensors for Early Detection of Contagious Outbreaks“, published in PLoS ONE in September 2010 (read our interview with the authors here.) The Society named the article the “Best Environmental Epidemiology Paper” of 2010.

On behalf of PLoS ONE, we extend our congratulations to Fowler and Christakis!

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PLoS ONE Wins Recognition as a “SPARC Innovator”

“For blazing a new trail in open-access journals, inspiring broader change in scholarly publishing, and thriving along the way, SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has named the Public Library of Science’s (PLoS) PLoS ONE as the SPARC Innovator for June 2011.”

Today it was announced that PLoS ONE has been named a SPARC Innovator by the Association of Research Libraries’ Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. We are very proud to have received this significant honor from a leading resource in Open Access (OA) advocacy.

In particular, SPARC’s recognition of PLoS ONE (which you can read in full on the SPARC website) highlights our contributions to changing the way science is communicated (namely, post-publication peer review and alt-metrics) and our success in proving that Open Access publishing is a viable and successful business model.

PLoS ONE is a game-changer. It breaks through the preconception that authors—and readers—require a journal to determine the significance of scientific research, and demonstrates that the community is ready and willing to take on that role,” says Heather Joseph, SPARC’s Executive Director.

In welcoming this award, we also want to highlight the fact that our tremendous success has been possible thanks to the dedication of our staff, authors, editors, reviewers and everyone in the PLoS ONE ecosystem. This award and others is for them.

This announcement has been cross-posted from the Official PLoS Blog.

Category: Awards | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

PLoS ONE publishes 120 F1000-ranked articles in 2010

A leader in the field of post-publication peer-review, Faculty of 1000, has ranked one-hundred and twenty PLoS ONE articles as being among the most important published in biology and medicine publications during 2010. You can check out the full list here* or read the top five F1000 ranked below.

  1. A conserved behavioral state barrier impedes transitions between anesthetic-induced unconsciousness and wakefulness: evidence for neural inertia. Friedman EB, et al. PLoS ONE. 2010; 5(7):e11903.
    F1000 article factor (FFa): 15
  2. From sea to sea: Canada’s three oceans of biodiversity. Archambault P, et al. PLoS ONE. 2010; 5(8):e12182
    F1000 article factor (FFa): 10
  3. Do seasons have an influence on the incidence of depression? The use of an internet search engine query data as a proxy of human affect. Yang AC, Huang NE, Peng CK, Tsai SJ. PLoS ONE. 2010; 5(10):e13728
    F1000 article factor (FFa): 10
  4. Coordinated progression through two subtranscriptomes underlies the tachyzoite cycle of Toxoplasma gondii. Behnke MS, et al. PLoS ONE. 2010; 5(8):e12354
    F1000 article factor (FFa): 10
  5. The protease inhibitor alpha-2-macroglobulin-like-1 is the p170 antigen recognized by paraneoplastic pemphigus autoantibodies in human. Schepens I, et al. PLoS ONE. 2010; 5(8):e12250
    F1000 article factor (FFa): 10

* Faculty of 1000 is a subscription-based service. You can access the rankings free of charge but will need a subscription to view the Faculty comments on all papers.

Category: article-level metrics, Peer review | 3 Comments

The SBMT NeuroMapping & Therapeutics Collection

Image courtesy of Pyka M, et al. PLoS ONE. 4(9).

Image courtesy of Pyka M, et al. PLoS ONE. 4(9).

One of the great challenges of the 21st century is how to translate scientific advancements from physical sciences into medicine. This gap of knowledge is also clearly visible amongst multiple disciplines within medicine (i.e. neurosurgery and radiology, neurology and neurosurgery, psychiatry and radiology and radiology and neurology). In this spirit, the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics (SBMT; formerly the IBMISPS) has been successfully addressing this educational gap by bringing together physicians, surgeons, scientists and engineers from multiple disciplines to promote cross-disciplinary research and publication.

To foster increased dialogue between these communities, the SBMT is proud to announce that they have partnered with PLoS ONE, in order to create a special collection called NeuroMapping and Therapeutics.  By doing so, the SBMT editorial board has decided to encourage its members to publish their research in PLoS ONE. These articles will then be brought together into a Collection that will highlight this content.

The aim of the SBMT NeuroMapping & Therapeutics (NMT) Collection is to provide a forum for interdisciplinary research aimed at translation of knowledge across a number of fields such as:

  • Neurosurgery (e.g. Image Guided Therapy/intervention, brain tumors and  intraoperative navigation, nanoneurosurgery, stereotactic radiosurgery, minimally invasive therapy, vascular neurosurgery, functional neurosurgery…)
  • Neurology (e.g. movement disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, neurooncology, as well as image guided device implantation…)
  • Psychiatry (e.g. medical imaging for psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, PTSD…)
  • Radiology (e.g. fMRI, PET, Nuclear medicine, MR SPEC, MRI, MR-PET, DTI, CT-PET, Focused Ultrasound, SQUID MRI, low magnet MRI…)
  • Neuroscience (e.g. stem cell, molecular neuroscience, image guided mapping of genes, proteomics, genomics…)
  • Neuroengineering (e.g. iomaterial & tissue engineering, human brain Machine Interface, brain and spinal cord devices, nanomedicine, extraterrestrial/space medicine & clinical practice…)
  • Policy (e.g. healthcare policy issues that affect the treatment delivery and usage of certain devices/drugs/imaging technologies…)

This Collection will contain a selection of those articles published within PLoS ONE, which the Editorial Board of the Collection feel are representative of the aims and scope of the SBMT society.  It will continue to expand over time as the number of relevant articles grows and are added to the Collection.

Please click here to listen to a presentation about PLoS ONE and the NeuroMapping and Therapeutics Collection by Pete Binfield (Publisher, PLoS ONE).  This presentation took place at the 8th Annual World Congress of SBMT on Brain, Spinal Cord Mapping and Image Guided Therapy.

If you wish to submit your research to the PLoS ONE NeuroMapping & Therapeutics (NMT) Collection, please consider the following when preparing your manuscript:

  • Submission to PLoS ONE as part of the NMT Collection does not guarantee publication or inclusion into the final Collection due to highly competitive nature of this collection.

When you are ready to submit your manuscript to the collection, please log in to the PLoS ONE manuscript submission system and insert ‘NMT’ in the relevant field to ensure the PLoS ONE staff are aware of your submission to the Collection.  Once you have registered, you can follow the steps for manuscript submission.

Please contact Lindsay King (lking@plos.org) if you would like further information about how to submit your research to the PLoS ONE NMT Collection.

The following PLoS ONE Editorial Board members have agreed to assist with this collection:

  • Dr. David Cifu, Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation and Research Center, US
  • Dr. Jeffrey Sutton, National Space Biomedical Research Institute,  US
  • Dr. Krystof Bankiewicz, University of California at San Francisco, US
  • Dr. Mitch Berger, University of California at San Francisco, US
  • Dr. Keith Black, Cedars-Sinia Medical Center,  US
  • Dr. Jay Pillai, John Hopkins School of Medicine, US
  • Dr. Aria Tzika, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, US
  • Dr. Michael Lim, Johns Hopkins Hospital, US
  • Dr. Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells, University of Barcelona, Spain
  • Dr. Howard Gendelman, University of Nebraska, US
  • Dr. Shawn Hochman, Emory University, US
  • Dr. Stephen Ginsberg, Nathan Kline Institute and New York University School of Medicine, US
  • Prof. Andreas Meisel, Charité Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, Germany
  • Prof. Hitoshi Okazawa, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan
  • Dr. Joseph El Khoury, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, US
  • Dr. Karin Peterson, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories, US
  • Prof. Tsuneya Ikezu, Boston University School of Medicine, US
  • Dr. Mike Chen, City of Hope, US

Update: The SBMT recently changed its name from the International Brain Mapping & Intraoperative Surgical Planning Society; updates made to this post reflect that change.

Category: Collections | 2 Comments

Visit PLoS (Booth 216) at Neuroscience 2010, Nov. 13-17

PLoS will be attending Neuroscience 2010 in San Diego, November 13-17. Come and visit us at Booth 216 in the Publisher’s Row area.

Meet editorial team members from PLoS Biology and PLoS ONE who will be on hand to answer questions about publishing your work with PLoS, open access, and our innovative article-level metrics program (which provides usage data, citation data, and social media indicators on every PLoS article), as well as to give away PLoS goodies including new PLoS ONE t-shirts (in limited quantities), open access buttons, and pens.

We will also be demonstrating our newest websites:

  • PLoS Hubs: Biodiversity launched in October 2010. PLoS Hubs make use of expert curators to aggregate open-access content around a single topic and to host the content in a single location, along with a suite of commenting, sharing and filtering tools. PLoS Hubs demonstrate the advantages that are created when content is made available for widespread re-use via a Creative Commons open access license.
  • PLoS Currents represent the next step in our efforts to accelerate the publication of scientific research. There are now three PLoS Currents (Huntington Disease, Influenza, and Evidence on Genomic Tests) and in each case researchers are able to submit material for rapid evaluation and online publication (within as little as 24 hours from acceptance to publication). Once published, the material is archived in PubMed Central, is assigned a PMID, and becomes part of the scientific record.  The hope is that this method of rapid open-access publication will be ideal for researchers who want to disseminate their research as widely and quickly as possible.

Together with our seven journals, these products represent the next steps towards showing what can be achieved with science communication in the 21st century. We look forward to showcasing them and seeing you at this year’s Neuroscience 2010!

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Census of Marine Life Launches in London

On October 5, the Census of Marine Life was unveiled after a decade of joint work and scientific adventure by marine explorers from more than 80 countries.

The Census is one of the largest scientific collaborations ever conducted. It included over 2,700 Census scientists from around the world and took over 540 expeditions plus countless days in labs and archives. The result is an exceptional picture of the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life in our planet’s oceans.

Many of the results from this global collaboration can be read in over 2,600 academic papers published in various journals. At PLoS ONE, we are happy to be one of the journals that helped play a role in the launch of the Census by publishing CoML Collections of some of these papers.

Below is a brief overview of all of the collections we have released thus far relating to the Census of Marine Life.  The papers in these collections are included in our new Biodiversity Hub and can be found on the PLoS Collections page.

  • Diversity in the Nearshore: The NaGISA Collection explores the relationships between species richness and biomass from different taxa along varying intertidal heights, subtidal depths and latitudes over large spatial scales. The papers also aim to determine the effect of several environmental variables as possible drivers of these gradients of biodiversity.
  • Future of Marine Animal Populations (FMAP) Collection analyzes and synthesizes global patterns and trends in marine species abundance, distribution, and diversity, and aims to model the effects of fishing, climate change, and other key variables on those patterns.
  • History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP) Collection draws together representative examples of how diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life in the world’s oceans changed overtime.
  • Biogeography of Deep-Water Chemosynthetic Ecosystems – The ChEss Collection presents some of the recent advances in biogeography and taxonomy within deep-sea chemosynthetic environments: patterns, processes, and synthesis resulting from the Census of Marine Life ChEss Program.
  • The POST Collection provides a sample of the diversity of studies that can be conducted when an existing technological infrastructure such as POST—a large-scale acoustic telemetry and data management system—is available and easily accessible to researchers.
  • Marine Biodiversity and Biogeography – Regional Comparisons of Global Issues describes the physical, geological, chemical, and biological characteristics of the region, provides a brief history of research and species discovery, and gives insight into the role of Census activities in promoting and synthesizing this information.
  • The MarBOL Collection highlights the large variety of applications of DNA barcodes.
  • The TOPP Collection highlights research performed by a large-scale biologging program that has deployed nearly 4300 tags on 23 marine species throughout the Pacific Ocean in a series of studies providing essential input into the effective management of marine ecosystems and conservation of top predator populations.

If you’d like to learn even more about the Census, please visit the Census of Marine Life online at http://www.coml.org. There, you can check out the Global Marine Life Database, see the latest Census discoveries mapped out on Google Earth, and discover many other fascinating resources for marine biodiversity.

Category: Collections | 3 Comments

New CoML Collection Published on Recent Advances in Biogeography and Taxonomy within Deep-sea Chemosynthetic Environments

PLoS ONE recently released another important landmark in biodiversity research: the Census of Marine Life (CoML) ChEss Programme Collection. The articles present some of the recent advances in biogeography (where animals live) and taxonomy (classification of organisms) within deep-sea chemosynthetic environments, where abundant life thrives fueled by chemical reactions rather than sunlight.

In situ photographs of 5 different habitat types. Photo credit: Gollner et al.

The Census of Marine Life Chemosynthetic Ecosystems project (ChEss) explored life at seeps, vents and whale falls, where cool, hot, rich in natural oils or corrosively acidic fluids fuel marine life. The ChEss programme has fostered and facilitated collaborations between hundreds of scientists from over 20 nations around the globe involved in studying species that inhabit these specific deep-water areas, including those with low or no oxygen.

New articles will be added to the initial collection over the next few months, building towards a comprehensive overview of the ChEss programme. Links within each paper are made to additional information sources, including ChEssBase, the most comprehensive database of species described from deep-sea chemosynthetic habitats, and the Encyclopedia of Life, which has detailed descriptions of each of the species mentioned in the collection.

The ChEss Collection will be featured, along with other Census of Marine Life collections, in the pilot version of the PLoS Hub for Biodiversity, to be launched later this year. This groundbreaking resource will aggregate relevant articles from a range of open-access sources including our own journal websites and PubMed Central. Please check out the call for articles to find out more about publishing your Biodiversity research in the PLoS journals.

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Historic COML Roll Call of Marine Species Published

Representing the most comprehensive and authoritative answer yet to one of humanity’s most ancient questions — “what lives in the sea?” — Census of Marine Life scientists today published an inventory of species distribution and diversity in key global ocean areas in a PLoS ONE Collection entitled, Marine Biodiversity and Biogeography – Regional Comparisons of Global Issues. This species inventory will help set a baseline for measuring the changes (such as rising water temperature and acidification of sea water) that humanity and nature will cause in coming years.

The scientists found that the number of named species contained in key ocean areas ranged from 2,600 to 33,000, with crustaceans comprising of about one-fifth of all species found. Only two percent of the species inventoried comprised of vertebrates such as whales, sea lions, seals and turtles. However, for every marine species known to science, Census scientists estimate that at least four have yet to be discovered.

The data obtained in the Census was combined with information collected over centuries to create a roll call of species in 25 biologically representative regions around the world that include:

Venus fly-trap

Venus fly-trap, Actinoscyphia sp. Photo Credit: I. MacDonald

  • Antarctica
  • Atlantic Europe
  • Australia
  • Baltic Sea
  • Brazil
  • Canada (East, West and Arctic)
  • Caribbean Sea
  • China
  • Indian Ocean
  • Japan
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • South America (Tropical East Pacific and Tropical West Atlantic)
  • South Korea
  • the Humboldt Current
  • the Patagonian Shelf
  • the USA (Northeast, Southeast, Hawaii, Gulf of Mexico, and California)

Content from the PLoS ONE Collection, Marine Biodiversity and Biogeography – Regional Comparisons of Global Issues, will be featured in the pilot version of PLoS Hubs:

Sponge Brittle Star

Sponge Brittle Star Photo Credit: César Herrera

Biodiversity, which brings together selected content that has previously been published from a variety of sources for the benefit of this community.

Please check out this call for articles to find out more about publishing your Biodiversity research in the PLoS journals so that it may be considered for inclusion in the Hub which launches in the Fall 2010.

Category: Collections | 4 Comments