The Nextgenediting Global Initiative

Today, Nextgenediting launches the search for volunteers for the Nextgenediting Global Initiative.

The Global Initiative aims to address two unmet needs within the scientific editing sector: the need for provision of high-quality editing to authors from low-income countries, and the provision of training for individuals seeking a career in medical and scientific editing.

Two events occurred here recently which brought home the need for innovation in this area. Firstly, we received a few manuscripts from low-income countries which were of high scientific quality. However, they required editing and the authors were unable to pay ‘high-income country’ editing fees, which represented 50-100% of their monthly wage. The second thing that happened was that Rubriq, a company based in the US, launched its portable peer review service which will see further fees passed on to the author (see a Nature news item here). This will place another barrier between the output from scientists in low-income countries, and publishing in recognised international journals. Although these developments are no doubt exciting (and indeed necessary) for those within the industry, they are also another source of global inequity in science.

We recognise that there may be a solution to this, hence the Nextgenediting Global Initiative. We receive many requests each month from individuals seeking to carve out careers in medical and scientific editing, but do not know where to start. We believe that one way to learn how to edit is by ‘on-the-job’ training, feedback, and mentorship.

By matching volunteer editors with manuscripts from low-income countries, and quality-assuring the process at Nextgenediting, we believe that we can improve the accessibility of editing services - and hence the quality of the communication of the science - without unduly harming commercial interests.

Everyone stands to gain: authors get their manuscripts improved at no cost and receive quality feedback on style and English, editors receive training, publishers receive higher-quality submissions, we meet our aims of being an ethical and socially responsible company, and society benefits from the dissemination of science which may otherwise not be published due to financial constraints or shortcomings in language and editing.

We believe that by offering these services at no cost to authors from the poorest countries, we will help remove another barrier they face in scholarly communication. The Nextgenediting Global Initiative will ultimately help to develop local research skills and infrastructure in low-income countries. This improves their chances of being included in the global research agenda.

We are currently in the first phase of the initiative - the recruitment of volunteer editors. Manuscript submission will start in April. While a core aim of the project is to support training of junior editors, we will also welcome experienced editors who wish to offer their services for free. Nextgenediting is absorbing the costs associated with the initiative, which is being offered on a non-profit basis.

For further information, please click here.
If you would like to apply to be a volunteer editor, please click here.
If you are a publisher or journal editor who wants to find out more, or promote the initiative, please click here.

Finally, please spread the word via social networking (links below or top right). This promises to be exciting.

The Nextgenediting Team

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The World Databank - An Amazing Resource

Something we feel strongly about at Nextgenediting is the use of computational biology to support and contextualise the main experimental findings of a biological paper. There is a wealth of primary research that can be performed before you even get started doing your experiments in the lab, and the best papers know how to make the best use of it. These data can be particularly useful for grant applications, too. We sometimes send recommendations back to our biomedical authors saying ‘go to GEO and analyse this dataset - you have all the information available to you tell you exactly what the expression of your gene of interest is in thousands of breast cancers…or colon cancers…or cardiovascular patients….or whatever your disease of interest is’. When you take this approach you often find the experiment you were planning (in vitro or in vivo) has already been performed, or there is supporting mouse data, or often clinical data. They can be used to generate the first figure(s) of the paper, put the experimental data in clinical context, and save a huge amount of time and effort performing costly -omics experiments. If you don’t know how to use these resources or need more information, please contact us.

What we hadn’t realised until very recently was that the same can be done for epidemiological data. We are currently planning our Nextgenediting Global Initiative (for more information click here), and while researching health and income statistics of third-world countries we found the World Bank World Databank. This is a free, online database of Development Indicators, Gender Statistics, and other useful data, which you can mine and interrogate at will for hundreds of different countries - both developed and otherwise. Most exciting for us however, is the Health, Nutrition, and Population Statistics Database which allows you to mine health and disease-related data. You just choose your country or countries of interest, the data series you want, and the range of years you are comparing (from 1961 to present) and the results are presented as tables, graphs, or on a map. You can even download the raw data and work with it yourself to present your own graphs or figures. Truly amazing.

We remember feeling like this when we first realised we could get our hands on raw gene expression data. What a powerful tool to contextualise your own work.

So if, for instance, if you are doing a study on HIV, and you need to know what the AIDS death rates are in various African countries, it would take two minutes to get this chart:

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which you can then fully customise. So much better than some outdated and over-cited WHO data, don’t you think? You can then get a first-hand grip on the numbers, trends, and associations relevant to your own research.

The World Databank provide the following video tutorial, so please check it out:

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We strongly recommend you go and have a play with this fabulous resource and see if it is useful for you. It’ll be particularly useful for students looking for thesis data. And please let us know what you think by commenting below.

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Because science does not need to be difficult

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Six-second journal club 1: #vinesciencechallenge

Over the last week, Vine has taken the net by storm. For those of you who haven’t heard of it yet - and believe me you will - Vine is a Twitter offshoot which allows users to take and share six-second video clips.

Nauseating? Mundane? Banal? Some think so, but like a toddler taking its first steps, we see it as wondrous and full of potential. In fact more so, because this toddler’s going to fly, which really would be something a loving parent could boast about.

That’s because Vine is all about communication. If a picture tells a thousand words, then Vine could recite the works of Shakespeare.

So we’re over egging the pudding, but that’s because we’re excited about what it can do for science.

That is why we are inviting you to take the #vinesciencechallenge.

Science is complex. Science can be difficult to communicate. Science baffles people. And that is why a tool like Vine can be used to break down barriers and make complex ideas simple. Condensing complex ideas into six-seconds forces you to think of the most important points, and be innovative in the way you communicate them.

The #vinesciencechallenge idea is simple. Take a scientific idea, and Vine it. That sequencing data you’ve been working on? Vine it. That paper you’ve just published? Vine it. That complex method you’ve just mastered. Vine it.

Vine it. Vine it. Vine it. Making your science accessible will make you a better scientist, excite other people, and encourage kids to think about science.

We did a six-second journal club Vine based on this PLOS One paper:

…..but we are sure you can do much better. When you have, follow us, send us the link (or post your comment below) and we will post the best ones here.

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