Bio-protocol (ISSN: 2331-8325) is a peer-viewed e-journal established in 2011 by a group of Stanford researchers. Our mission is to make life science research more efficient and reproducible by curating and hosting high quality, free access, life science protocols.
Aims and Scope
In the life science research community, reproducing someone else’s experiment has never been easy. This is because a life science experiment often contains many details and tricks. Bio-protocol aims to publish detailed life science protocols with a strong emphasis on reproducibility, a critical issue that is challenging the research community today. Bio-protocol does not publish literature reviews, case studies, or opinion pieces, nor does it publish protocols from the other science disciplines that are not applicable to the life sciences.
How can the life science research community as a whole improve experimental reproducibility? An important step is for researchers in the community to share accurate and detailed experimental protocols. At Bio-protocol, we believe that, for protocol sharing to be successful, there are five critical elements that need to be implemented, as listed below. Our mission at Bio-protocol is to build the most comprehensive protocol collection possible, while keeping these elements as our core values. Bio-protocol's goal is to make reproducing experiments easier.
- Protocols are accurate and detailed. At Bio-protocol, each reagent used in the protocol needs to have a unique identifier (e.g., manufacturer and catalog number); authors need to have expressive freedom to use graphics, animations, and even videos that can clearly explain protocol steps beyond simple text description; and each protocol needs to be strictly peer-reviewed to ensure sufficient detail for reproducibility.
- Protocol sharing is open and easy. Bio-protocol is free access -- there is no access fee. To make protocol sharing easy, publishing with Bio-protocol is also free -- there is no publication fee for authors. Furthermore, when publishing with Bio-protocol, authors do not need to spend time formatting submissions. Instead, our editing team does the formatting, leaving the authors free to focus on what really matters: the content. At Bio-protocol, we believe that only when protocol sharing is "open and easy" will it truly have the potential to thrive.
- Protocols are well organized and easy to find. Besides being organized into volumes and issues, all protocols on Bio-protocol are organized in a hierarchy in terms of both field and model organism. The hierarchical knowledge tree makes it easy to navigate through our protocol collections. Furthermore, we have set up a powerful and intuitive search function to enable effective searching of our entire protocol collections. Finally, to further ensure that Bio-protocol remains easy to use, we only publish one protocol for each specific research technique. This ensures that our readers will never be confused by competing versions of exactly the same protocol.
- Readers (users) and authors have easy and open communication. At Bio-protocol, all protocols are associated with a moderated Q&A panel. These Q&A panels help readers successfully reproduce protocols by allowing them to easily ask authors clarifying questions for troubleshooting. Authors also benefit from these Q&A panels. The public nature of these Q&A panels reduces repetitive questions to authors, and provides a great platform for authors to build their reputations and expand their scientific networks.
- Protocol collections are comprehensive and self-contained. Bio-protocol not only hosts advanced protocols that directly lead to scientific discoveries, but also hosts basic “Bio101” protocols (these protocols are not counted as formal publications on Bio-protocol and are not indexed in our regular volumes). Bio101 protocols serve as an educational resource that covers basic biology techniques, and are complementary to Bio-protocol advanced protocols.
Bio-protocol is not just "another" protocol journal. At Bio-protocol, we hope that, by promoting the efficient sharing of high quality life science protocols, we can help revolutionize the way research is done. Our goal is to create a more open and more efficient life science research community.