Wikipedia and RNA Biology

I love the RNA Biology journal’s new guidelines for submissions, which state that you must submit a Wikipedia article on your research on RNA families before the journal will publish your scholarly article on it:

This track will primarily publish articles describing either: (1) substantial updates and reviews of existing RNA families or (2) novel RNA families based on computational and/or experimental results for which little evolutionary analysis has been published. These articles must be accompanied by STOCKHOLM formatted alignments, including a consensus secondary structure or structures and a corresponding Wikipedia article. Publication in the track will require a short manuscript, a high quality Stockholm alignment and at least one Wikipedia article; Each centered around the RNA in question.

As my source for this points out, Nature (the publishing organisation behind the RNA Biology journal, and co-producer of Science Foo Camp with O’Reilly and Google) the publishers of RNA Biology already synchronise a database with Wikipedia. Apparently there’s a core of scientists who do most of the edits, but also a lot of other scientists who pop in sporadically to fix or add information.

Kudos to Nature the publishers of RNA Biology for doing something imaginative to increase the commons. Journals wield a huge amount of power in the scientific world, and it’s wonderful to see them using that power to incentivize good.

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