Dr Anne Cambon-Thomsen (Editor-in Chief), Dr Laurence Mabile (Editorial Advisory Board Member), and Dr Barbara Parodi (Editor-in-Chief)
It takes considerable time, work and money to set up and maintain a bioresource that is useful for research. For those wishing to make their bioresource usable by the scientific community, the BioResource Impact Factor (BRIF) initiative has developed tools to optimize bioresources visibility and tracking.
As a first tool, the Citation of Bioresources in journal articles (CoBRA) guideline was developed to harmonize the way bioresources are cited in research articles. The guideline allows easy tracking of a bioresource in academic literature and on the web provided it is cited as a formatted reference.
As a second tool, an open access ‘meta-journal’ was created, the Open Journal of Bioresources (OJB; Ubiquity Press), to specifically describe bioresources as structured peer-reviewed summaries. OJB papers are published in accordance with a template that describes the bioresource, outlines how it is maintained, the methods used in its creation, how it can be accessed and under which conditions. OJB papers do not contain results obtained using the bioresource. Importantly, OJB papers are not peer reviewed for the bioresource’s envisaged or actual use. Rather the peer review assesses whether the information is accurately filled out and presented in accordance with the standards set by the CoBRA guideline.
Why is this type of journal needed?
The purpose of this journal is to provide bioresources with a permanent marker paper so that users can definitively cite a bioresource they have accessed or referred to. Without a standardized method for citing bioresources, it is difficult for author’s to give appropriate credit to a bioresource Traditionally, bioresources would be referenced in research articles by mentioning the name of the biobank and sometimes the biobank’s website. However, web addresses may change or expire. Furthermore, creator/managers of bioreosurces are often inappropriately included in the author list even though they have not contributed to the research results. Citing a peer-reviewed bioresource description paper is the easiest way to ensure that the bioresource enters the scientific record and will remain there in perpetuity with genuine recognition of creators/managers of bioresources as authors. Once cited, as a formal, peer-reviewed publication, the bioresource paper will appear in articles’ reference lists along with its digital object identifier (DOI). The Open Journal of Bioresources provides just this type of publication.
Because the bioresource paper is associated with a DOI, citations can be easily tracked in the same way as for research articles. The number of citations a paper receives is an indication of how well accessed and utilized the biobank/resource is, which helps build a picture of its impact and use within the scientific community. Furthermore, each paper is accompanied by a list of so-called altmetrics, highlighting the article’s views, downloads, Tweets, Facebook posts and blog posts referring to the paper. This allows researchers, managers of bioresources, their funders, and institutions to understand the impact of their bioresource with more granularity than mere citations.
Finally, in the OJB, articles are indexed in common academic databases such as CrossRef, SHERPA RoMEO, Google Scholar so that readers can discover the bioresource in the same way as any other item in the scientific literature. Article indexes can search across titles, abstracts, keywords and full contents, meaning that bioresource papers can be easily discovered alongside other articles of interest. Discussions are also ongoing with PubMed about indexing articles there.
How to submit or review a bioresource article
For more information about submitting an article about your biobank to the Open Journal of Bioresources, visit their author’s guidelines here http://openbioresources.metajnl.com/about/submissions/
OJB is also looking for more reviewers as a way to enable high quality published descriptions of bioresources. If you are interest in joining our reviewer community, please log in here: http://openbioresources.metajnl.com/author/register/reviewer/
- The Open Journal of Bioresources, UP
- The CoBRA guideline:
- The CoBRA checklist:
- The BRIF initiative:
Mabile L, Dalgleish R, Thorisson GA, Deschênes M, Hewitt R, Carpenter J, Bravo E, Filocamo M, Gourraud PA, Harris JR, Hofman P, Kauffmann F, Muñoz-Fernàndez MA, Pasterk M, Cambon-Thomsen A; BRIF working group. Quantifying the use of bioresources for promoting their sharing in scientific research. Gigascience. 2013; 2(1): 7. doi: 10.1186/2047-217X-2-7. Pubmed Central