New open access journal to ‘rescue’ methods

Researchers around the world who publish papers in peer-reviewed journals often have to delete details of the various methods they used to generate the results of their experiments.

Now a reputable publisher of research papers is offering a lifeline: a journal that will publish the methods or lab results that have not been seen publically – and in an open access, online publication that will allow them to receive public credit and citations.

Elsevier, the provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced last week that it had begun publishing a “concept methods journal” called MethodsX.

“Researchers spend up to 80% of their time customising and tweaking existing methods to make them better fit their specific research setting,” said Irene Kanter-Schlifke, the company’s executive publisher.

“By providing a home for these often unpublished records, MethodsX allows researchers to receive public credit and citations for that work without spending time writing a full, traditional research article.

“This is a new approach to scientific publishing [and] we believe that MethodsX will dramatically change how researchers assess and build on recognised techniques, saving the scientific community valuable time and money.”

Kanter-Schlifke said the new journal would publish papers in all disciplines of experimental research, from life sciences to health sciences to physical sciences. She said a typical paper would include an abstract, an image, graph or other visual to illustrate what had been done and “the methodological protocols”.

Gregory J Tsongalis, a professor of pathology at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in the US and the Audrey and Theodor Geisel school of medicine at Dartmouth College, said the new journal would fill a need for researchers to publish their work on developing methods so they could easily be found by others.

As advising editor for MethodsX, Tsongalis said it was also good for researchers that they could get acknowledgement for the time and effort they had spent on their research.

The first articles in the new journal are now freely available online on ScienceDirect.