August 01, 2012

Let's play ASHG 2012 title imputation! (+open science miscellanea)

It's that time of year again, and the titles for the ASHG 2012 presentations have just been posted online. Well, part of them anyway; the dreaded (...) have made another appearance. Still it is fun to try to guess what each contribution is about, and we'll only have to wait ~1 month for the abstract text.

In related news, Ewen Callaway reports on the trend (?) for biologists to put their unpublished work in arXiv. My own views are strictly for open science, so I applaud the people who are dragging their disciplines into the 21st century.

Finally, recent initiatives in the UK and the EU will mandate open access for work funded by research agencies. This is a good step in the right direction, but a very incomplete one: open access solves the problem of ensuring wide dissemination of new science, but merely shifts the flow of public  money rather than sever it. With open access Government->University Library->Journal is replaced by Government->Research Agency->Scholar->Journal.

Moreover, open access does not address the more fundamental issue of how journals impede scientific progress by imposing the antiquated pre-publication peer review process. The sky hasn't fallen over the heads of physicists who post their work on arXiv when they're done with it and carry out post-arXiv publication peer review. So, it probably won't fall on the heads of biologists who do the same either.

A good example of this is the recent work on ChromoPainter/fineSTRUCTURE that appeared months before publication: lots of people -including myself- started using their software right away, which spurred new insight, and they got their peer-reviewed publication too. More recently, a group of independent researchers co-ordinated their efforts in public to hack 1000 Genomes data, discovered and validated new SNPs, and they got their publication too. Open science works, so everyone should try it!


sykes.1 said...

I am somewhat of a crank about this, but the problem of open access is not the journals, it is the promotion and tenure committees and the P&T process itself.

P&T demand refereed publications. They do this because the individual committee members are usually not competent to judge the quality of a candidates work, or its impact on his field. In fact, in this age of over specialization, most departments of 20 or so people, have nobody competent to judge the work of his colleagues.

The key to open access is reform of the P&T process, and perhaps reduction of specialization.

A question: Is specialization a requirement of modern scholarship, or is it a defense mechanism against one's peers?

princenuadha said...

"Ortega Del Vecchyo, Diego; Haplotype signatures of negative selection. ..."

Oooooohh, goodie!!

princenuadha said... (pdf)

Got it!

Now answer my questions dienekes.

Dienekes said...

Now answer my questions dienekes.

What questions?

princenuadha said...

Ok, challenge accepted.

Continent-wide decoupling of Y-chromosomal ... (genetic variation from language and geography in native South Americans.)

That was a total guess!