Dear Dr Varmus,
I am anxiously awaiting the implementation of
E-biomed for the following reasons:
i. It is going to save us an awful lot of
wasted time now spent pursuing the conventional publication process.
ii. It has the potential to bring inter-
or multi-disciplinary work, work on unusual systems, and other
non-conventional findings to the attention of a broad audience.
iii. It will provide an excellent opportunity
for distributing images and film sequences that are difficult
to include in conventional publication although some effort is
now being made by journals to accommodate data of this sort.
iv. Electronic publishing could in fact be
a way to archive full data sets, research film collections, image
collections and the like, in contrast to the tip of the iceberg
that now appear in conventional papers.
v. New discovery and new ideas are becoming
more and more difficult to publish in most specialized journals.
The tendency is to favour conventional experimental approaches
and results that are in the mainstream. Submission of E-biomed
postings through the general repository would provide an excellent
way for something different to get a hearing. I suspect many future
directions that go beyond current trends will make their appearance
in these postings.
vi. Have you considered having all submissions
posted to the general repository and passing the job on to the
journals to bid for the papers they want instead of having authors
do so initially?
vii. My colleagues in physics and maths frequently
post their papers in an electronic data base at Los Alamos either
prior to sending them to print journals or as the sole means of
distribution. Putting a paper on the net in E-biomed before submitting
it to a print journal in biology would probably violate the "has
not been published elsewhere" constraint. This might be a
talking point with the journals however, particularly if they
see that something like E-biomed is likely to obsolete them and
I have said too much already. The main point
is that after 35 years of conventional publishing, and 20 years
of working across disciplines to learn something about bacterial
cells, E-biomed would be a welcome and significant advance. I
suspect there are others with the same opinion.