Volume 18, Number 3 of the Worm Breeder’s Gazette now available

Volume 18, Number 3 of the resurrected, open access research newsletter of the Caenorhabditis elegans research field is now available. Go get it while the gettin’s good!

The next issue of the Gazette will be release in June 2011, just prior to the 18th International Worm Meeting. You can submit articles now online at the Worm Breeder’s Gazette. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2011.

The Worm Breeder’s Gazette: now accepting online submissions!

Last year I wrote about the return of an open access scientific newsletter (see: “An early model for open access returns: say hello to the new Worm Breeder’s Gazette“.)

Today I’m happy to announce that we’ve enhanced the Gazette with online submission of articles!

You must first register as a contributor before submitting an article for inclusion in the next issue of the Gazette.

About the publication schedule

We’ve chosen to mimic the original frequency of the Gazette with bi-yearly releases. These will occur in June and December of each year. A single volume of the Gazette consists of 4 issues over two years, or the span between the International C. elegans meeting.

Behind the scenes

For this interested in the implementation details, the article submission is powered by WordPress with extensive customization of the default Post and Page write panels. The submission form itself is broken out into distinct fields — the article text, references, figures, and so on.

The end result? A robust content management and user registration system for collecting brief scientific missives that require minimal copywriting to publish.

Want to set up your own newsletter?

This software is suitably generic to allow anyone to quickly set up their own newsletter consisting of public submissions, scientific or otherwise. Contact me at wbg@toddharris.net for information.

An early model for open access reopens (say hello to the new Worm Breeder’s Gazette!)

The Worm Breeder’s Gazette was an early model of open access publishing. Today, it returns.

The C. elegans research community has a long tradition of open access.

This spirit led the community to adopt early a standard nomenclature for genes, alleles, proteins, strains, and mutant phenotypes. Standardization made it vastly easier to discuss biological concepts and to share reagents. As the community grew, a stock center was established which thrives to this day. As the genome was cloned as proof-of-concept for sequencing a large genome, cosmids were available with just a quick email.

But it wasn’t just shared nomenclature that bound the community together. The annual C. elegans meeting was a single session. It was believed that in order to understand the corner you were trying to tease apart that you needed to understand the entire organism. To this day, presentations often include raw and unpublished data. Posters are rarely limited to just what’s in the publishing pipeline.

The C. elegans community also pioneered electronic collection, curation, and dissemination of data, through the standalone genomic database AceDB, gopher, BBSs, early websites, and in 2000, with the launch of the comprehensive curated online repository WormBase.

In general, people in the worm field are psyched to share what they know regardless of its publication status.

This is particularly evident from The Worm Breeder’s Gazette. The WBG began as a printed newsletter in December 1975 as an ad-hoc collection of preliminary results, methods, and sometimes pure speculation. Each abstract was limited to one page in length, mimeographed and assembled into a printed booklet complete with a cover depicting worms in various absurd endeavors. No editors. No peer review. Freely available (well, nearly so).

The Gazette continued in printed form until May of 2003. It provided many young researchers a chance to hone their writing skills and to report preliminary data. And it was a model for the Open Access revolution now taking place.

Some of these things have changed as the community has grown larger. But today I’m happy to announce the return of The Worm Breeder’s Gazette. We’re following the casual format of before, with short abstracts limited to a printed page in length. Abstracts are cross-linked to WormBase for genes, variations, and proteins, as well as to external resources when appropriate. To retain the feel of a newsletter, we’ll be publishing the Gazette twice a year.