Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The ‘Omic’ revolution, Science 2.0 and PLoS ONE: Are they synonymous?

With the new developments in sequencing technology, more and more species and varieties of organisms are being sequenced more faster than never before, possibly within weeks now. Revolutionary new algorithms for genome analyses have enabled fast and reliable predictions as regards to evolution, physiology, lifestyles and fitness of the sequenced organisms. The scientific journals showcasing such studies have a greater role as regards to access and ease of access to the data and information.

As the new community genomics era dawns ahead, the Open Access journal PLoS ONE has suddenly become a preferred home for genomic and metagenomic studies. This can be gauged from the fact that a whopping 25% of its 2000 papers published until April 2008 was flagged under Genetics and Genomics. Out of this about 50 of the landmark papers addressed the whole genome inferred biology of multiple species of organisms. The most important have been for instance the genome sequences of grape-wine, the Group A Streptococci, Actinobacillus spp., Yersinia spp., Deinococcus geothermalis, Francisella tularensis, Shewanella piezotolerans, Acinetobacters, Leptospira biflexa, Arcobacter butzleri, Bacillus pumilus, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Staphylococcus aureus, Burkholderia mallei and so on.

In addition, six largescale metagenomic studies have been published there in the last few months and it continues to attract submissions in this area and the newly emerging field of ‘Microbiomics’. The Mediterranean metagenomics, coral reef microbial metagenomics and the ocean viral metagenomics projects published at PLoS ONE have been widely discussed both in media and the blogosphere.

No wonder this is truly the magic of web 2.0 based science communication that has transformed PLoS ONE to be the most cutting edge platform for the dissemination of the message of ‘omic’ sciences. So good, the journal is now TOPAZ enabled for community based review, rating and dialogue. It makes a terrific resource when genome data access is enabled through such channels with functionality for community engagement through forums such as Journal Clubs (JC) on PLoS ONE articles. Such JCs involve groups of scientists who volunteer to discuss PLoS ONE articles and to post their discussions as a series of comments, annotations, and ratings eventually triggering discussions within a broader scientific community.

Competing interest: I serve as Section Editor for PLoS ONE.

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