April 5, 2017
PLOS Offers Protocols.io Author Tools to Improve Experimental Methods Reporting
APRIL 5, 2017 – Today, PLOS and protocols.io announce a partnership to offer authors better ways to share methodological details about their research.
To enhance the reproducibility of published research, PLOS authors are now encouraged to deposit their laboratory experimental methods with protocols.io and to link directly to these from the Methods section of their articles.
This new offering complements PLOS’ already robust data availability policy, requiring that data underlying the conclusions of an article be made available at the time of publication. Since the strengthening of this policy in 2014, about 60,000 articles have been published that contain a Data Availability Statement.
“We are excited to engage with protocols.io,” says PLOS Executive Editor Veronique Kiermer. “This is another step towards open science, facilitating access not only to the data but now also to the laboratory methodology that generated these data.”
“We are delighted to be associated with a like-minded partner such as PLOS,” says protocols.io CEO Lenny Teytelman. “We are aligned in our open access ethos, and we strive to facilitate the communication of research in an effective, accessible and reusable way.”
Solutions to the challenges of reproducibility in experimental science are as diverse as the challenges themselves. The protocols.io application allows scientists to create, copy, modify and evolve laboratory protocols, describing the critical details of experimental procedures that are often overlooked in articles Methods sections.
“Methods sections that describe laboratory experiments are narratives that tend to omit subtle variations that may affect the experiments,” says Kiermer. “I hope that scientists will take up the opportunity to describe their methods in a way that is much more useful to others.”
Nuanced methodological details can be shared in new ways, that in time can integrate seamlessly into the research cycle, from bench to publication and back. “It is not merely a tool for publication,” says Teytelman, “it can be useful as a lab tool, at the bench, for record keeping and for sharing expertise within and outside a laboratory.”
Protocols uploaded to protocols.io are assigned a digital object identifier (DOI), archived and linked permanently to and from the article. “They become part of the scientific record,” says Kiermer, “while the protocol may evolve and improve over time, the version that relates to the paper remains accessible to help explain experimental nuances.” Kiermer also sees the potential for more granular credit to authors and contributors who toil to develop and optimize critical methodological steps. Vibrant commenting on the protocols.io website allows interested readers to engage deeper with the article’s methodology. “This partnership will improve reproducibility of published research while fostering scientists’ collaborative engagement with our content.”
How It Works at PLOS:
Researchers are encouraged, at their discretion, to deposit their laboratory protocols on the protocols.io site. There they can obtain a DOI and a unique link that allows reviewers and editors access to the protocols during peer review. At the time of publication, the partnership between PLOS and protocols.io ensures that links to and from the published article are established and protocols are automatically made publicly available under a CC-BY license for anyone to access and cite. Details of the protocols.io platform are published on a Community Page in PLOS Biology.
PLOS (Public Library of Science) is a nonprofit Open Access publisher, innovator and advocacy organization dedicated to accelerating progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. The PLOS suite of journals – PLOS ONE, PLOS Biology, PLOS Medicine, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and PLOS Pathogens – contain rigorously peer-reviewed Open Access research articles from all areas of science and medicine, together with expert commentary and analysis. In addition to journals, the organization advances innovations in scientific publishing through Channels, Collections, Communities and The PLOS Blog Network. Founded to catalyze a revolution in scientific publishing by demonstrating the value and feasibility of Open Access publication, PLOS is committed to innovative and forward-looking solutions to scientific communication.
Related to this release, contact:
Veronique Kiermer, PhD
For all other matters contact PLOS Public Relations:
Protocols.io was conceived in 2012 by geneticist Lenny Teytelman and computer scientist Alexei Stoliartchouk to facilitate science communication and rapid sharing of knowledge. The protocols.io platform is an open access service for academic and industry scientists to record and share detailed up-to-date protocols for research. It also provides an open access hub for scientists to communicate improvements and corrections to science methods. The company is located in Berkeley, California.
Lenny Teytelman, PhD
Cofounder and CEO, Protocols.io