Our first BioRxiv preprint uploaded

I have just uploaded our first paper to the BioRxiv preprint server:

Figure from Brown-et-al


Anna K Brown, Sylvie D Hunt, David J Stephens
doi: 10.1101/001743

The paper is a follow up to our Journal of Cell Science paper from 2013 in which we showed similar outcomes for motors in the endosomal system.

This paper has been long in the making and was in fact our starting point for the project. Despite us thinking that this would prove  a more tractable system (with a defined end-point for trafficking etc) the endosomal system provided a better model for this work. In this project we have also really been trying to find membrane anchors for dynein that direct ER-to-Golgi transport. I’ll admit that we held off on publishing early in the hope that we did and that we could incorporate these assays into that work. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. We also could have published this some time ago before Anna (first author) left for maternity leave. I retained the hope of extending the study through other work even while she was away. This didn’t happen (but we still have hopes). We left these data out of Sylvie’s paper for clarity. That paper remained entirely focussed on the endosomal network.So now, we have decided to publish as a follow-up to Sylvie’s paper on sorting nexins and motors from last year, we had to choose what to do. This in our view did not have the necessary detail (“mechanistic insight”??) for somewhere like Molecular Biology of the Cell or Journal of Cell Science. This choice coincided with the opening of BioRxiv as a preprint server for Biology.

[Declaration: I (David) am an “Affiliate” of BioRxiv]

This seemed like a very good option for this work to get it in the public domain ASAP. We will also submit this to a journal for full peer review as I believe that this remains an important part of the process. As such posting on BioRxiv is not the end point on this journey just an extra step for us that makes our data (and interpretation) freely available to all immediately. We don’t have to wait for peer review, revision, formatting and hosting. I cannot see that as anything but a good thing. The preprint has a DOI so can be cited and easily referred to. We can now decide where to submit this for full peer review. Many journals already allow posting (including EMBO and PLOS) and likely others will soon change their editorial policies to follow suit. Some won’t and that is their prerogative. Would we still send our future work to one of the journals that does not allow BioRxiv posting first? Yes, if we thought it was the most appropriate place, we certainly would. 

Our funder for this work (the UK Medical Research Council or MRC) mandates open access and I think BioRxiv is a good part of this process. I also chose the CC-BY license option as the most liberal in terms of re-use, data mining etc. This is also consistent with our funder policy.

For further info on BioRxiv I recommend you take a look. The common questions are readily answered on the BioRxiv website.

Alfonso Martinez-Arias has written on his blog on why he supports the preprint server system and I see no point in reiterating comments that I agree with! I strongly recommend that you read this if you are still wondering whether this is a good idea or not.