UZH scientist revolutionizes science publishing

Systems biologist and Alzheimer’s researcher Lawrence Rajendran of the University of Zurich launched a new publishing platform in early December, called ScienceMatters. The platform takes the open access strategy adopted by UZH in 2008 a step further. While the university policy effectively makes scientific work publicly available, ScienceMatters seeks to make publishing more systematic.

The novelty of ScienceMatters lies in what and how fast it publishes. True to its motto “Stories can wait. Science can’t”, the platform will not only publish finished and well-rounded studies that take years to complete, but also, and most importantly, single observations. What’s more, a new paper submitted to the platform will be published and commented by the reviewer within two weeks, provided it passes the anonymous peer-review process.

Lawrence Rajendran © UZH

Lawrence Rajendran © UZH

Prof. Rajendran believes that publishing early findings will accelerate “the pace of scientific progress” as scientists from around the globe will have prompt access to these findings and will be able to build new theories on them, “like LEGO for science.

This approach is in sharp contrast with the current publishing status quo. Prestigious publications currently accept neither partial findings nor papers confirming the results of a known experiment, although these can be good and valuable science. As a result, access to publicly funded research can be hampered.

ScienceMatters is focusing on publications from the biosciences for the moment and is supported by a scientific advisory board chaired by Prof. Thomas Südhof, Nobel laureate in medicine. Michael Hengartner, the President of UZH who visited Japan earlier this year, is among the representatives of UZH on the board.

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