Latest Article Alert from Breast Cancer Research

The following new articles have just been published in Breast Cancer Research

For articles using Author Version-first publication you will see a provisional PDF corresponding to the accepted manuscript. In these instances, the fully formatted Final Version PDF and full text (HTML) versions will follow in due course.

Research article
GPR30 as an initiator of tamoxifen resistance in

Latest Article Alert from BMC Medicine

The following new articles have just been published in BMC Medicine

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Research article
Containing the accidental laboratory escape of potential pandemic

Latest Article Alert from BMC Health Services Research

The following new articles have just been published in BMC Health Services Research

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Research article
What are the safety risks for patients undergoing

Latest Article Alert from BMC Infectious Diseases

The following new articles have just been published in BMC Infectious Diseases

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Research article
A comparison of microbiology and demographics among patients

Publisher Embargoes, Immediate-Deposit Mandates, and the Request-a-Copy Button

On Thu, Nov 28, 2013 Bo-Christer Björk wrote in GOAL: The idea that publishers would tolerate large scale mandate driven green OA (say 50-60 %) of articles with no embargoes or counteractions is pretty naive. Elsevier has shown the way with rules stipulating that Green OA is OK, unless its mandated, in which case they require special deals with the the institutions in question. And many publishers who previously had no embargo periods are starting to define such.”

Björk’s comment, unfortunately completely misses the point.

Yes, publishers can and will try to impose embargoes on Green OA, especially encouraged by the perverse effects of the UK’s Finch/RCUK preference and subsidy for Gold.

That is not being denied, it was being affirmed: “Joint ‘Re-Engineering’ Plan of UK Government and UK Publisher Lobby for ‘Nudging’ UK Researchers Toward Gold Open Access

But the immediate-deposit (HEFCE/Liege) mandates are immune to these publisher embargoes. They are the compromise mandate that fits all funders and institutions, regardless of how long a maximal publisher embargo they allow.

(Green OA after one a one-year embargo has been pretty much conceded by all publishers, whether or not they admit it, so that’s the worst case scenario; one year of access-denial is now the figure to beat: The HEFCE/Liege mandates get everything deposited in institutional repositories immediately upon acceptance for publication, whether or not it is made OA immediately. And that means that access to everything immediately becomes at most 2 keystrokes away, one from the requestor, one from the author, thanks to the repositories’ automated “Almost-OA” Button: see more below.)

As to Elsevier’s “special deals” for mandating institutions: sensible institutions will politely inform Elsevier that they are, as always, quite prepared to negotiate with publishers about subscription pricing (“Big Deals”) — but definitely not about university internal record-keeping and archiving policy, which is none of publishers’ business.

As to Elsevier authors (who — not their universities! — are the ones negotiating rights agreements with their publishers): They can rest assured that Elsevier is still completely on the Side of the Angels in its explicit, formal recognition of their authors’ right to provide immediate, unembargoed (Green, Gratis) OA to their final drafts, by self-archiving them online, accessible free for all, in their institutional repositories — a right that Elsevier has formally recognized ever since 2004.

Let me repeat that very clearly: All Elsevier authors today retain the right to make their papers OA immediately upon publication — no embargo — by depositing their final refereed drafts in their institutional repositories and setting access to them as OA immediately.

The recently added Elsevier double-talk about “voluntariness” and “systematicity” has absolutely no legal force or meaning. As it stands, it is just vacuous, pseudo-legal FUD and can and should be safely ignored by authors.

And if and when Elsevier (putting at further risk its already rather unhappy public image) ever does decide to bite the bullet and changes its rights agreements from what they state currently to state instead that, as of today, Elsevier authors no longer retain the right to make their papers (Green, Gratis) OA unembargoed, then the institutional repositories’ automated request-a-copy Button will tide over researcher needs during the embargo with one click from the user to request a copy and one click by the author to provide one. This is not OA, but it’s “Almost-OA.”

Once the immediate-deposit mandate, the Button, and X% Immediate-OA + (100-X)% Almost-OA prevail worldwide, it won’t be much longer till embargoes die their inevitable and well-deserved deaths under the overwhelming worldwide pressure for OA, which by then will already all be only one keystroke away.

Meanwhile, X% Immediate-OA + (100-X)% Almost-OA will already be incomparably more access than all non-subscribing would-be users have (or have ever had) till now.

It is rather hard to say on whose side Björk is on, and why! It’s one thing to objectively measure the level and growth rate of Green and Gold OA, Immediate and Delayed, across disciplines and time, as Björk does, valuably. It’s a rather different thing to advocate for Gold OA.

Now, I am myself an unambiguous and unambivalent advocate for Green OA, whether when I am objectively measuring its growth rates or designing tools and policies to facilitate and accelerate mandating it. And my reasons (likewise no secrets) are the many reasons that Green OA can be facilitated and accelerated by mandating it.

Gold OA, in contrast, costs extra money (over and above uncancellable subscriptions) and can only grow on publishers’ terms, and publishers’ timetable.

I know of no reason to believe that OA can or will grow faster via the paid Gold route than the mandated Green route: The reason Björk gives above (publisher embargoes) certainly does not entail that conclusion at all. Immediate-deposit mandates are immune to publisher embargoes and will accelerate the demand and supply of OA unstoppably as they are adopted more and more widely.

That suggests a new parameter whose growth rate Björk and others might now find it interesting to measure: The growth rates of various kinds of mandates, keeping a special eye on the most powerful and effective one: The HEFCE/Liege model. Because that’s where most of the action in the next few years will be taking place…

Stevan Harnad

Winter Service Update

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As we head into winter and as the holiday festivities begin, we wanted to let our authors know in advance that they may experience a slight delay in the peer review process of their manuscript if they submit anytime between now and the end of the year. This is because many of our academic editors and external referees will be out of the office at some point during the holiday season.

Despite many people being on vacation, the work of the journal continues and so we will endeavor to ensure that all manuscripts submitted to PLOS ONE are evaluated as quickly as possible, but please accept our advance apologies for any delays you experience.

In the meantime, we encourage you to visit the following links for information and answers to some of our common questions. For anything not covered here, please contact us at plosone@plos.org and we will respond as quickly as possible.

Image: Emily’s Snowman Cookies by Ralph Daily

Latest Article Alert from Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials

The following new articles have just been published in Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials

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Short report
The emergence of blaCTX-M-15-carrying

Latest Article Alert from Malaria Journal

The following new articles have just been published in Malaria Journal

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Research
Malaria case management in Papua New Guinea following the introduction of a

Latest Article Alert from Breast Cancer Research

The following new articles have just been published in Breast Cancer Research

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Research article
Direct repression of MYB by ZEB1 suppresses proliferation and

I’ll Have What He’s Having: Dogs Eavesdrop on Human Interactions

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In the spirit of Thanksgiving and sharing a warm meal with loved ones, we’d like to take a moment to give some social credit to our loving, faithful, and clever furry friends. Researchers have been investigating the question of whether animals can eavesdrop—or listen in on third-party interactions—for some time, and evidence of potential eavesdropping has been identified in dogs and other mammals, fish, and birds.

Dogs are especially good candidates for studying eavesdropping because they are social animals and have been domesticated, so they are accustomed to interacting with humans day-in and day-out. Most dog owners know how well their dogs can “read” them, and some might argue that their dogs can do this better than other people they know. Researchers have also confirmed that dogs can recognize human emotions, facial expressions, and friendliness versus hostility, the latter even in strangers.

In a more nuanced form of social interaction, dogs have been shown to prefer certain people over others depending on the outcome of third-party interactions. To further investigate how dogs respond to interactions among people, the authors of this recently published PLOS ONE article asked whether dogs can develop a preference for or against givers, or “donors,” in a “begging” interaction between people.

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The study recruited 72 dogs of various breeds and sizes and put them in a testing environment that either resembled a home or a dog care facility. While the dog watched from across the room, two human assistants acted as “donors” (females, pictured above) who offered food to a “beggar” (male, above), and the beggar either reacted positively or negatively to the offered food. The extent of the reaction was controlled to try to determine which social cues the dog was picking up on: gesture + verbal (GV), gesture only (G), or verbal (V) only.

In the GV group positive scenario, the beggar received a yummy corn flake, ate it, and said “So tasty!”; in the negative scenario, the beggar said “So ugly!” gave the corn flake back, and then turned his back. The G and V groups differed in that they isolated the gesture and verbal components, respectively. After the beggar left, the dog was released and had 10 seconds to decide between the donors, who did not signal the dog in any way. Dogs that did not make a choice were removed from the analysis.

As the results below show, dogs were more likely to choose the donor who received a positive reaction; the authors also noted that the dogs tended to watch or gaze at the donor who received a positive reaction longer than the donor who received a negative reaction. However, the authors state that both gesture and verbal cues (the GV group) were required to show a reliable difference among the groups.

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Although these results alone are not conclusive, as it is difficult to control for all the variables affecting these scenarios (e.g., the authors note that dogs chose randomly if the donors switched places), the authors suggest that the dogs may have attributed a “reputation” to the donor based on the beggar’s reaction, where both gesture and verbal cues were required for the dog to make this association.

While not the same as a scientific experiment, it might be fun to “test” your dog in various eavesdropping scenarios, especially in relation to available food* on the Thanksgiving table.

Happy Thanksgiving from PLOS ONE!

Citation: Freidin E, Putrino N, D’Orazio M, Bentosela M (2013) Dogs’ Eavesdropping from People’s Reactions in Third Party Interactions. PLoS ONE 8(11): e79198. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079198

Image Credits: Figure 1 by carterse, Figures 2 and 3 from the article

*food safe for pets to eat, of course!