Friday, June 13, 2008

Soothing rains, soothing papers

My month long summer holidays just ended with the first rains after a very hot season (42 ℃) here in Hyderabad. Within the last 2 days the rejoice of Monsoon intensified also with the recent PLoS ONE evaluations at the F1000 Biology!! It appears that the Faculty Members of F1000 are now regularly picking up papers from PLoS series. Whereas this article Adaptation and mal-adaptation to ambient hypoxia; Andean, Ethiopian and Himalayan patterns. Xing G, Qualls C, .., Verma A, Appenzeller O, PLoS ONE 2008 3(6):e2342- [abstract on PubMed] [related articles] [free full text], by Xing and colleagues was rated as exceptional, the other two papers 1) Imaging cyclic AMP changes in pancreatic islets of transgenic reporter mice. Kim JW, Roberts CD, .., Roper SD, Chaudhari N, PLoS ONE 2008 3(5):e2127- [abstract on PubMed] [related articles] [free full text] and 2) East learns from West: Asiatic honeybees can understand dance language of European honeybees. Su S, Cai F, .., Tautz J, Chen S, PLoS ONE 2008 3(6):e2365- [abstract on PubMed] [related articles] [free full text] were tagged significant and with novel findings.

Roughly about 4-5% of PLoSONE articles are evaluated on the Faculty of 1000 at a given time, which coincides to fourth position in terms of number of evaluations, after Science (~17% of the published articles evaluated), Nature (~15% of the published articles evaluated) and PNAS (~15% of the published articles evaluated). For a broad based and high volume journal such as PLoS ONE, the F1000 evaluations constitute important quality indexes for individual articles especially when a much controversial bibliometric index such as 'impact factor' is becoming increasingly redundant.

Another soothing observation was that the Viking DNA paper from Jørgen Dissing’s group, Evidence of Authentic DNA from Danish Viking Age Skeletons Untouched by Humans for 1,000 Years, which I handled recently was very well taken by the popular and science press. The paper was Slashdotted and subsequently received several thousand hits within the space of a couple of days as also reported in PLoS Blog by Rebecca Walton. Some of the coverage of this article is listed below:
Live Science – DNA Retrieved from 1000-year-old Vikings; Wired – Researchers Recover Thousand-Year-Old Viking DNA; People's Daily, China Impossible! Scientists retrieve ancient Viking DNA; Zee News (India) DNA from 1000 yr old skeletons!; Malaysia Sun Viking DNA retrieved from 1000-year-old skeletons; Newsweek – Bring Back the Vikings: Ancient DNA; Discover Magazine – Hide the Women and Children! Researchers Dig up Viking DNA Scientist Live, UK – Authentic Viking DNA; Huffington Post – Viking DNA Recovered From Ten 1,000-Year-Old Skeletons: Report; – Recovering 1,000 Year Old Viking mtDNA; Science a Gogo Viking DNA Retrieved etc.

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