Bio-protocol and eLife Launch “Request a Protocol”
Have you ever read the description of a method in a research paper and wished there was a step-by-step detailed protocol you could use in your own research? Now, because of a collaboration between eLife and Bio-protocol, you will be able to request that protocol directly from the Materials & Methods section of eLife articles. The Bio-protocol editorial team will work with the authors of the original article to help you get the protocol you need, and then (with the author’s permission) will make those protocols available to the entire research community. By using this service to request a protocol, you will not only save yourself valuable time, you will also help other researchers interested in that protocol to gain access to it.

Bio-protocol's vision is to have step-by-step protocols for all life science methods, whether basic or advanced, available and directly linked to the research articles they were used in.

In a partnership starting in 2017, eLife has worked with Bio-protocol to link detailed protocols. Historically, Bio-protocol editors have reached out to the authors of research articles and ask them to publish the protocol in Bio-protocol, and then eLife links to it. We work to find protocols that we think the research community would find useful, but we know that we miss many that would be of value, and that researchers would request if it was easy to do so. Therefore, Bio-protocol and eLife decided to take another step to support the research community by launching “Request a Protocol”.

How does “Request a Protocol” work?

The simplest way to connect protocols to the research articles that use them is a direct link in the Materials and Methods section of the research article. That is why in the Materials & Methods section of eLife research articles, under each subsection you will see links to “Request a detailed protocol” (Figure 1) or “View detailed protocol”. The latter will link to a detailed protocol that has been published in Bio-protocol.

Figure 1. Screenshot from the following Research Article: O-GlcNAc on NOTCH1 EGF repeats regulates ligand-induced Notch signaling and vascular development in mammals (This article was originally published in eLife)

Click on the “Request a detailed protocol” link and you will be brought to a new page with a list of all of the protocols within the eLife article you were just viewing. Provide the information requested in the form (Figure 2) and then click on the “SEND REQUEST” button.

Figure 2. Form page for the request details
Our primary aim is to get a detailed protocol to you as quickly as possible. To do this, a member of the Bio-protocol team will first search for the desired protocol in Bio-protocol’s database. If we find a potentially matching protocol, we will send it to you, as well as to the authors of the primary research article. In our email to the authors, we will let them know that a member of the research community requested the protocol, and that we did some work to determine whether we already had the protocol in the database. We will ask the authors to let us know if the protocol matches their own protocol – and, if not, to point out any and all differences in reagents and/or steps in the method. We will share all of the information that the authors give us about the protocol with you. To save time, we will also encourage the authors to share a lab version of the requested protocol, which we will send to you as soon as we receive it.

Because we want the work the authors did to maximally benefit the research community, Bio-protocol will ask the authors if they wish to publish a Protocol Preprint and/or submit their protocol for publication in Bio-protocol, where it will promptly go through our editorial process and peer-review. If they choose to share their detailed protocol on Bio-protocol, eLife can link to it – and other people interested in the protocol will be able to access it immediately without having to reach out to the author, saving time for them both. All of the information we collect about the details of the desired protocol will be documented with a web page linked to the original article.

We anticipate that Request a Protocol will speed the process of discovery; we encourage you to try it and hope it helps move your project forward. We’re in the progress of establishing a similar collaboration with our other partners including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Science family of journals. If you have any feedback, please contact us at eb [at] bio-protocol [dot] org.


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