John Sack has probably done as much as anyone to transform—or disrupt, depending on who is talking—the scholarly publishing business. As founding director in 1995 of HighWire Press, Sack was asked by Stanford University Press to see if research journals could dip a toe in the unknown but rising waters of the online world while still keeping their integrity and citable permanence dry. Sack plunged in. Today HighWire is the leading e-publishing platform, handling 1,732 scholarly journals, reference works, books, and conference proceedings, for scholarly publishers, large and very small.
Behind the acronyms ASCB + GSA = LSE stands a new editorial partnership between the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and the Genetics Society of America (GSA) to support the online journal, CBE—Life Sciences Education (LSE). The journal, which was started by ASCB in 2002 as Cell Biology Education but changed to CBE—Life Sciences Education in 2006 to reflect the breadth of its educational coverage across all life sciences, will have a joint editorial board drawn from scientists in both societies. GSA will become a full editorial partner, promoting the journal, soliciting manuscripts, and contributing to its costs of operation while ASCB will remain the actual publisher. Erin Dolan will continue as LSE Editor-In-Chief.
A matched-peer controlled study of science faculty at minority-serving institutions (MSIs) shows that an outside mentoring support program increased the number of peer-reviewed research publications, the number of federal grants, and the variety of professional and curricular activities of those who participated versus academic peers who did not.
Writing in Science Careers, Sandra Schmid, former ASCB President, declares that the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) principles should be used in the hiring process. Over 9,000 individuals have now signed DORA, but Schmid points out that, "Our signatures are meaningless unless we change our hiring process."
Renato J. Aguilera, Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and chair of the ASCBs Minorities Affairs Committee, will receive the SACNAS 2013 Distinguished Research Mentor Award. SACNAS was founded in 1973 as the Society for the Advancement of Chicano & Native Americans in Science. An ASCB member since 1990, Aguilera directs the Biology Graduate program at UTEP, which has grown to include more than 50 PhD students, half from underrepresented minorities in science. Aguilera also directs the NIH funded Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement and a National Science Foundation S-STEM grant, which have funded the training of more than 100 undergraduates. More than half of those trainees have continued on to graduate programs. Aguilera himself decided to pursue a career in research with encouragement from SACNAS founding member Eppie Rael.
A new $5,000 prize funded by a leading biomedical technology company to honor research by a graduate student member of the ASCB will be the first competition judged in keeping with guidelines from the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which ASCB endorsed in June. Candidates for the ASCB Kaluza Prize supported by Beckman Coulter, Inc., an international biomedical systems manufacturer, will be evaluated on the discoveries they have made, not on the impact factors of the journals where the results have been published, according to ASCB President Don Cleveland.
Celldance 2013, ASCB's Really Useful Cell Biology Video Contest, has engineered a truly simple PDF download of the "Mad Mice" poster. Suitable for high-resolution color printers or screen savers, the "Mad Mice" poster serves a double purpose—it will make your lab bench or office space pop (graphically) and it reminds you to enter your short video that illustrates a basic cell mechanism or process by October 31.
ASCB needs your face, your voice, and your creativity to show Congress that basic research has a human dimension. We want a group portrait of you and your labmates to share during our science advocacy days on the Hill and with our Facebook followers. And #WeAreResearch is making this a contest or rather two contests, with prizes—some for you but all for the good of American science and health.
America's uncontrolled experiment in eyes-closed sequestration of research funding has George F. Will of the Washington Post worried. With the National Institutes of Health (NIH) now enforcing cuts of 5% or $1.55 billion, Will has declared sequestration, "a public health hazard." Will writes, "NIH scientists seek intensely practical, meaning preventive and therapeutic, things that can save society more than any sequester can."
The NIH is building its portfolio in the emerging field of extracellular RNAs, known as exRNAs, with the announcement of $17 million in awards to support basic research aimed at understanding this newly discovered type of cell-to-cell interaction. NIH believes that exRNAs could play a role in numerous conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease. The Extracellular RNA Collaborative is a trans-NIH initiative, linking the efforts of five NIH institutes in pushing basic research into exRNAs.