Most scholarly societies publish journals for the betterment of the community, among
myriad reasons. Yet in this era of rapidly proliferating publications, societies and
their journals offer many benefits for constituents, including affordable meetings,
travel awards, public outreach, support for educators, science advocacy, dissemination
of scientific discoveries via journals, the fostering of community, boards of directors
elected by their peers, and a long-term view.
At GENETICS and G3: Genes | Genomes | Genetics, we believe that society journals offer
special value not found elsewhere: a voice and vehicle for practicing scientists to
move science forward. The GSA journals have done this in several ways.
As peer scientists and editors, we recognize that science advances faster when the
development of new methods is accompanied by clear descriptions of how to implement
these methods, along with the data that benchmarks the new approaches against existing
ones (de Koning and McIntyre 2012).
In 2010, the GSA journals created a revised data policy that requires public accessibility
of all the data used to support the conclusions described in a paper (McIntyre 2010).
The Editors felt a policy was necessary to ensure that analyses based on genomic data
could be repeated just as easily, for example, as those based on polymerase chain
reaction experiments; although no one today would publish the results of a polymerase
chain reaction experiment without providing the sequences of the primers, this was
not always the case.
Even as shrinking methods sections plague many journals, we have expanded requirements
for methodological details. As editors, we encourage our authors to make their findings
as reproducible as possible, in part because we heard the community pleading for more
information. As reviewers, we appreciate having the information needed to verify and
reproduce and extend results. And, as authors, we sometimes struggle to conform to
our own high standard. During this past year, although an increasing number of scientific
journals have, with much fanfare, increased their demands for open access to data,
the GSA journals have in fact quietly led the way as early proponents of open-data
Soon after we released our revised policy, we realized that requiring raw data were
not enough. Deeper thought and discussion revealed that analysis programs, detailed
bioinformatics methods, and full result files also were needed to create robust publications.
How though to ensure that the data would be available in perpetuity? Unfortunately,
local websites, although well-intentioned, often suffer from lack of maintenance over
time, with broken links impeding readers’ ability to access data in the long-term
(Vines et al. 2014). To accommodate the increasing volume of data, GENETICS and G3
encourage deposits with third-party data repositories like Dryad, FigShare, GEO, and
others. We also encourage the provision of such data as supplemental information.
In the spirit of serving the community, we started collections of articles on contemporary
topics of interest organized across the two journals, offering a wider platform and
greater visibility to each individual article (http://www.genetics.org/site/misc/GenomicSelection.xhtml;
The value of such efforts is most apparent when a single topic quickly captures the
interest of our community. In these cases, having common datasets to work with becomes
critical. In February 2012, the GSA journals featured a focus on the mouse Collaborative
Cross, which underscored the role of society journals in promoting such community
endeavors (McIntyre and de Koning 2012). GENETICS and G3 have gone on to encourage
discussion in genomic selection (de Koning and McIntyre 2012), sex determination (http://www.genetics.org/site/misc/GeneticsOfsex.xhtml),
and immunity (http://www.genetics.org/site/misc/GeneticsOfImmunity.xhtml), and we
continue to promote and present literature on these topics. Please let us know if
there are challenges and central questions in your community that need a venue for
GENETICS and G3 Today: Multiparental Populations Collection
In the continued spirit of hosting such scholarly resources, the current issues of
GENETICS and G3 highlight articles on the study of multiparental populations (#MPP).
As the limitations of two-parent cross designs have become obvious, we are struggling
with analysis of experimental populations that have more than two segregating alleles.
The papers in the MPP collection, along with their data and transparent methods, should
stimulate discussion and, we hope, move the field forward.
The realization of this first group of MPP papers exemplifies the ability of community-driven
journals to support community-driven research. The idea for this initiative originated
during a workshop on Multiparent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC) populations
(http://mus.well.ox.ac.uk/19genomes/MAGIC-WORKSHOP/) in 2013 that was co-organized
by one of our Associate Editors, B. Emma Huang. With the help of Associate Editors
Fred van Eeuwijk and Alain Charcosset, the journals issued a call for papers (http://www.genetics.org/site/misc/CallForPapersMultiParental.xhtml).
The submissions were managed by additional editors (the authors of this editorial,
as well as Jim Birchler, Steve Chenoweth, Rebecca W. Doerge, Jim Holland, B. Emma
Huang, Brian Yandell, and senior editor Krista Nichols), and nearly 70 referees.
Such an effort—indeed, the very existence of society journals themselves—would be
hard to envisage without the support and leadership of an engaged community of practicing
scientists, who themselves understand what is necessary to “do science” and to thrive
in today’s current climate. When we commit to publishing reproducible science, the
synergy creates a body of long-standing work that is greater than the sum of its parts.
We invite you to submit your own manuscripts for consideration in the rolling MPP
collection as well as others, have your own voice heard, and advance discovery and
discussion in your community.