Archive for September, 2008

A special feature in Nature Reviews Cancer

As is pointed out in: Cancer stem cells in solid tumours: a review (Cancer Stem Cell News, September 25, 2008), there’s a review entitled: Cancer stem cells in solid tumours: accumulating evidence and unresolved questions, by Jane E. Visvader & Geoffrey J. Lindeman, in Nature Reviews Cancer 2008(Oct); 8(10): 755-68. This review is currently available gratis, as a special feature, to registered visitors to Nature Reviews Cancer. Registration is also free. Yet another NPG experiment with OA? (See also: OA to Nature supplement, Gavin Baker, Open Access News, September 23, 2008).


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Articles in Nature Reviews Genetics (Oct 2008)

A series of articles in Nature Reviews Genetics are Gratis OA (after free registration): Table of Contents, Nature Reviews Genetics, 2008(Oct); 9(10).


Human genomic variation initiatives in emerging economies and developing countries, Béatrice Séguin, Billie-Jo Hardy, Peter A. Singer & Abdallah S. Daar, Nature Reviews Genetics 2008(Oct); 9(10 supp): S3-S4.


Genomics, public health and developing countries: the case of the Mexican National Institute of Genomic Medicine (INMEGEN), Béatrice Séguin, Billie-Jo Hardy, Peter A. Singer & Abdallah S. Daar, Nature Reviews Genetics 2008(Oct); 9(10 supp): S5-S9.

From diversity to delivery: the case of the Indian Genome Variation initiative, Billie-Jo Hardy, Béatrice Séguin, Peter A. Singer, Mitali Mukerji, Samir K. Brahmachari & Abdallah S. Daar, Nature Reviews Genetics 2008(Oct); 9(10 supp): S9-S14.

Universal health care, genomic medicine and Thailand: investing in today and tomorrow, Béatrice Séguin, Billie-Jo Hardy, Peter A. Singer & Abdallah S. Daar, Nature Reviews Genetics 2008(Oct); 9(10 supp): S14-S19.

South Africa: from species cradle to genomic applications, Billie-Jo Hardy, Béatrice Séguin, Raj Ramesar, Peter A. Singer & Abdallah S. Daar, Nature Reviews Genetics 2008(Oct); 9(10 supp): S19-S23.

The next steps for genomic medicine: challenges and opportunities for the developing world, Billie-Jo Hardy, Béatrice Séguin, Federico Goodsaid, Gerardo Jimenez-Sanchez, Peter A. Singer & Abdallah S. Daar, Nature Reviews Genetics 2008(Oct); 9(10 supp): S23-S27.

Added September 21, 2008: See also: Human Genomic Variation Studies in Developing Countries, McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health, Sep 18, 2008.

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Book on Open Access

Information about a book entitled: “Science Dissemination using Open Access” is available via:


This book aims to guide the scientific community on the requirements of Open Access, and the plethora of low-cost solutions available. A compendium of selected literature on Open Access is presented to increase the awareness of the potential of open publishing in general.

The book also aims to encourage decision makers in academia and research centers to adopt institutional and regional Open Access Journals and Archives to make their own scientific results public and fully searchable on the Internet.

Editors: Enrique Canessa and Marco Zennaro
Publisher: ICTP – The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (Trieste, Italy)
First edition: July 2008
PDF (6.1 MB): 207 pages.

From the “Credits”:

This book was prepared for the ICTP Workshop on “Using Open Access Models for Science Dissemination” held in Trieste, Italy in July 2008 carried out in collaboration with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP).

Part 1 is entitled: “Selected Literature”, and provides background information about Open Access, including sections on “Open Access to science in Developing Countries”.

Part 2, beginning on page 135/207 of the PDF (page 125 of the book), is entitled “Software”. There are sections on EPrints, DSpace, Self-Archiving, Open Access archives (ArXiv, Open Access services at ICTP, HAL), E-LIS, Open Journals System, Topaz and CDS Invenio.

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OA oncology journals

Peter Suber has posted an item (Open Access News, August 18, 2008) about Oncology Journals: Open-Access Publications, from Oncology Watch. It’s a list of oncology journals that provide free access to full-text articles. Of the 21 journals on the list, I could identify only 7 for which an Impact Factor (IF) was available via the 2007 JCR Science Edition of Journal Citation Reports, from the ISI Web of Knowledge. (I have access via the University of Toronto Libraries).

Of these seven Gold OA journals (in which all research articles are OA), I could identify only 3 that had 2007 IFs larger than 4. These were: Neuro-Oncology (5.80), Neoplasia (5.67) and Breast Cancer Research (4.37).

For comparison, examples of well-known cancer-oriented journals are (2007 IF in brackets): Cancer Cell (23.86), Journal of the National Cancer Institute (15.68), Journal of Clinical Oncology (15.48) and Cancer Research (7.67).

The good news, from the perspective of an OA advocate, is that the three Gold OA journals (all of which have issues beginning in 1999) have IFs that are approaching that of Cancer Research. The bad news is that their IFs are still well below those of Cancer Cell, JNCI and JCO.

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists 38 journals belonging to subject: Oncology. Of these, I counted 23 that currently are not listed by Oncology Watch. For only one of these 23 was an IF available. It was CA : A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, which has a very high 2007 IF (69.03). However, most of the articles in CA are solicited reviews, like the reviews in Nature Reviews Cancer (2007 IF: 29.19).

Of course, an alternative to Gold OA journals is Green OA (via OA archiving in a suitable repository). Some good news, according to information available via the SHERPA/RoMEO site: the Green OA policy for Cancer Cell permits postprints to be posted on the personal or institutional website or server of authors. (See also Copyright information for Cancer Cell).

The Green OA policy for JCO is unclear. Cancer Research has a 12-month embargo on Green OA. JNCI also has a 12-month embargo on Green OA, but provides a hybrid paid OA option via Oxford Open. It would be of interest to find out whether or not JCO would accept an appropriate Author Addendum to the journal’s usual publication agreement.

Another alternative is to publish cancer-related articles in Gold OA journals that specialize in health-related topics that include cancer/oncology, and already have high IFs. Two examples are the Public Library of Science journals PLoS Biology (2007 IF: 13.50) and PLoS Medicine (12.60).

The Journal of Clinical Investigation (2007 IF: 16.915) provides immediate access to some articles. An recent example is an article on overcoming cancer cell drug resistance, J Clin Invest 2008(Sep 2); 118(9): 3109-3122 [PubMed Abstract]. There are also several journals with high IFs that provide free access to articles one to six months after publication. See, for example, the Free Medical Journals site (but, it should be noted that the IFs currently shown may not be the most recent ones).

One may ask: why so much emphasis on IFs? For a recent essay that grapples with this and related issues, see: Thinking about prestige, quality, and open access (Peter Suber, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #125, September 2, 2008). A brief excerpt:

Impact factors (IFs) rose to prominence in part because they fulfilled the need for easy quantitative judgments and allowed non-experts to evaluate experts. As they rose to prominence, IFs became more tightly associated with journal prestige than journal quality, in part because their rise itself helped to define journal prestige.

A recommendation: read the entire essay.

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Editorial on OA

As noted by Peter Suber in Another TA editorial on OA (Open Access News, September 1, 2008), there’s an editorial in the Wiley-Blackwell journal Epilepsia, entitled: Public (open) access policy, by Philip A Schwartzkroin and Simon D Shorvon, Epilepsia 2008(Aug); 49(8): 1295.

The editorial (which isn’t freely accessible) summarizes information that can freely accessed via Wiley-Blackwell and Open Access.

It’s noteworthy that Wiley-Blackwell will post the accepted versions of articles by NIH grant-holders to PubMed Central, to be made publicly available 12 months after publication. However, the full text of articles in Epilepsia are already freely accessible online after one year. So, unless or until the NIH public access policy is modified from permitting a 12-month embargo on OA to a mandate the only permits shorter embargoes (such a 6 months), little has been gained from mandating the deposition, into the PubMed Central repository, of NIH-supported postprints that have been accepted for publication in Wiley-Blackwell journals.

Added September 2, 2008: Another Wiley-Blackwell journal has published an editorial, by Allan D Kirk and Daniel R Salomon, entitled: AJT’s Response to the National Institutes of Health Public Access Regulations, American Journal of Transplantation, published online August 22 2008. See: Another TA response to the the NIH OA policy, Peter Suber, Open Access News, September 1, 2008.

Again, the editorial isn’t OA, and has no abstract. However, one sentence in the editorial is especially noteworthy:

In response to this new regulatory mandate, the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Transplantation has unanimously approved a new policy that all publications accepted to the Journal, regardless of their source of funding support, will be automatically posted to the National Library of Medicine PubMed Central upon acceptance. Articles will be automatically available within the 1-year time frame required by the NIH.

Unlike research articles in the Wiley-Blackwell journal Epilepsia, the new access policy of the American Journal of Transplantation will be applicable to “all publications accepted to the Journal, regardless of their source of funding support“. However, it should be pointed out that research articles in the American Journal of Transplantation, like those in Epilepsia, are OA one year after publication. See: Wiley-Blackwell Open Access Backfiles.

So, again, little has been gained from mandating the deposition, into the PubMed Central repository, of NIH-supported postprints that have been accepted for publication in this Wiley-Blackwell journal.

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