|Happy 15th birthday BMC series!|
|The BMC series is BioMed Central’s portfolio of 60+ journals focused on the needs of individual research communities. In July we celebrated 15 years since the first article was published.|
In her blog, Diana discusses how the BMC series not only championed the open access model, but was the first to publish pre-publication histories for articles. She then discusses how important it is to continue to be innovative, to keep putting the author at the centre, and to be part of the academic communities that our journals serve.
|Green light for malaria vaccine|
|A big leap forward for malaria control was recently announced. After decades of research and a cost of over US$565m, the vaccine, known as RTS,S or Mosquirix, has been given the green light by the European Medicines Agency.|
The vaccine is intended to protect children aged 6 weeks to 17 months against the mosquito-transmitted Plasmodium falciparum parasite that causes malaria. The European Medicines Agency said that Mosquirix provides “modest protection, which decreases after one year, but despite this limited efficacy, its benefits outweigh the risks.”
GlaxoSmithKline, the vaccine’s manufacturer, will sell Mosquirix at a “not-for-profit price” to make it affordable. Once the World Health Organization has issued policy recommendations, national regulators will then have to authorize the vaccine for use in each country.
In a recent forum article in BMC Medicine, Freya Fowkes and James Beeson from Burnet Institute, Australia, were optimistic but realistic about the vaccine: “RTS,S may prove to be a valuable addition to malaria control efforts. However, the future development of more efficacious and long-lasting vaccines is likely to be needed to achieve elimination from many countries and regions.”
|BMC Ecology image competition|
Credit: Mohamed SheblFor the third year running, BMC Ecology launched its successful image competition and this month the winners were revealed! With a unique perspective of the world, the competition allows ecologists to share their interesting viewpoints with the rest of us.
With five section winners, an Editor’s pick, two co-runners up and an overall winner, there are lots of incredible images to see and we’ve collated them all into this blog. If that’s not enough, you can also view more fascinating images featured in our editorial, where the judges offer explanations for their selections.
The overall winning image wonderfully captures a Palestine Sunbird extracting some nectar from an Echinops flower. In this Q+A, we asked the photographer himself more about the story behind the image and why he found it so fascinating.
Keep an eye out for more “Behind the Image” blog posts from this year’s winners by checking the BMC series blog over the coming weeks.
|Why be a scientist?|
|Although being a scientist can be frustrating, it’s also rewarding. Early career researcher and guest blogger Bryony Graham pointed out in the most recent of her series of blogs that it’s very easy to forget this.|
So if you find yourself feeling exasperated, read this blog to remind yourself why being paid to push boundaries and answer questions nobody knows the answers to is so great. As Bryony says herself, “it’s frustrating, it’s exhausting, and it’s stressful. But when it works – it’s incredible.”
|FASTR - making research freely available to the public|
|The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs recently approved a public access bill. The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act is legislation that would require agencies that spend at least $100 million a year on research to make the published papers they fund free within a year.|
If approved by both chambers of Congress and signed by the president, it would ensure the requirement stands through future administrations. The original FASTR bill proposed moving the embargo up to 6 months, but a last-minute amendment changed that to 12 months. More information here.
|BioMed Central in the Press|
|Research published in Genome Biology identified evolutionary changes in the genome of the kiwi bird that help explain the bird’s unique adaptations to nocturnality – a behavior found in fewer than 3% of all bird species. The kiwi bird’s unique nocturnal behavior is linked to some altered genes that eliminate color vision and others that modify its sense of smell.|
The genomic changes in kiwi vision and smell are consistent with changes that are thought to occur during adaptation to nocturnal lifestyle in mammals. The researchers estimated the onset time of these changes to be around 35 million years ago, suggesting that the kiwi adopted its nocturnal lifestyle shortly after the arrival of its ancestor in New Zealand. The research was reported in various news outlets including the kiwi’s native home New Zealand Herald; Der Standard in Austria and Natural World News in US.
Proportionally, more black men are dying from prostate cancer in the UK than white men. Research in BMC Medicine found that black men are twice as likely to be diagnosed with, and die from, prostate cancer. The study also found that Asian men have around half the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with, and dying from, prostate cancer compared with white men in England. The new figures could help individuals better understand their risk of developing prostate cancer and make an informed decision about whether or not to have a prostate specific antigen test.
The findings of this research were reported in The BMJ and The Independent in the UK and Time Magazine in the US, as well as several others. One of the study’s authors, Alison Cooper from Prostate Cancer UK , wrote a blog to explain the research behind the risk.
|Announcing BioMed Central’s new gateway to research and services in China|
|We are excited to be launching our China Gateway – available in Chinese and English. Here we showcase BioMed Central’s high–quality research from China, and provide valuable, engaging content for authors, Editors and institutions in the country.|
Our Chinese readers will find tips on peer review and the publishing process,research highlights, information on ourscientific writing workshops in China, the services we offer to societies and much more. Content on the gateway is created and curated by our team in China, ensuring that the information is relevant to our Chinese audience. To mark the launch a series of blog posts from researchers, Editors and BioMed Central staff in China was published. The blogs are also available in Chinesehere.
|Reproducibility: what are we going to do about it?|
|In recent decades, the reproducibility of a shocking number of scientific studies has been called into question. What is to be done about the “crisis” is a question for everyone involved in research.|
With the increasing number of studies revealing that much of science cannot be reproduced or replicated, BioMed Central launched the pilot of a newMinimum Standards of Reporting Checklist. The checklist addresses three areas of reporting: experimental design and statistics, resources, and availability of data and materials.
In a launch editorial, BioMed Central staff and the Editors of GigaScience andGenome Biology stressed the need for ensuring the reproducibility of scientific work. There was also a number of blogsabout the subject including one whereEditorial board members from BMC Biology gave their views on the subject.
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