We’re pleased to announce that another new section of PLoS Currents, on the topic of Muscular Dystrophy, is open for submissions.
We invited Dominic Wells (Professor in Translational Medicine, Royal Veterinary College, London) from our editorial board to share his thoughts about this important new site and his reasons for taking part. Below he issues a challenge to this research community to use this new forum to increase the speed of advances in the understanding and treatment of DMD and related muscular dystrophies.
“I am delighted to have been asked to act as one of the Editors of PLoS Currents: Muscular Dystrophy. This is a new forum, produced with support from Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, for the rapid communication of hypotheses and experimental results.
The attractive elements of this publishing approach are obvious: publication will be rapid (the aim is to achieve a one week turnaround and ideally as fast as 24 hours); manuscript preparation will be simple (currently using the Google Knol web based platform); quality will be assured by a panel of internationally recognized reviewers; articles will be date-stamped, citable and immediately indexed in PubMed; unlike print and other web-based journals there will be no page charges and all content will be open access. Contributions can be updated and a trail of previous versions will be archived.
I suspect like many other potential authors, I had concerns when initially presented with this idea. Would this result in the publication of poor quality science and would people publish in a forum that did not have an impact factor, given the undue importance placed on the latter by promotion boards and funding agencies? After careful consideration, I believe these are not major problems. Given the light touch peer review system the published work should be seen as preliminary although we will take care to check there are no obvious methodological errors, ethical or legal concerns. Publication in PLoS Currents: Muscular Dystrophy will not bar a more complete or definitive version of the work from being published later in other members of the PLoS family of journals and possibly other long-established journals.
What type of content will be suitable for PLoS Currents: Muscular Dystrophy? The main criteria will be that the work is clearly related to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and associated disorders that affect similar cellular processes. I expect a wide range of contributions from complete and comprehensive manuscripts through to interesting preliminary experiments; from exciting advances in potential therapies to no less important “negative” results; and from hypotheses to improved methodology. As a consequence, this will prevent a number of different laboratories repeating the same unsuccessful work, will generate an increased set of experimental data from which to develop new ideas and will allow the rapid spread of improved techniques and testable hypotheses.
I take this opportunity to challenge the muscular dystrophy research community to use this forum to increase the speed of advances in our understanding and treatment of DMD and related muscular dystrophies”.