Friday, March 18, 2011

More Media Attention on California's Stem Cell Journal Venture

The state of California's modest foray into scientific publishing is drawing attention in a couple of science publications.

Both "The Scientist" and "Nature Medicine" recently carried items dealing with the $600,000 venture by the California stem cell agency in partnership with a North Carolina business, AlphaMed Press of Durham.

Nature published the more fulsome piece that predated action by CIRM's governing board last week. The article by Michelle Pflumm carried the headline, "Government-funded journal seen by some as waste of grant money."

Pflumm cited critics John M. Simpson, stem cell project director for Consumer Watchdog of Santa Monica, Ca., and Martin Frank, executive director of the American Physiological Society, which publishes 14 journals.

Simpson said,
"They need to demonstrate a need, and I don't think they have done that."
Frank said government dollars are better spent for research. He said,
"We are not flush with money today."
Pflumm also quoted Arnold Kriegstein, director of the stem cell program at UC San Francisco, as praising the move. He said,
"What I find most novel is the idea that there would be negative results published. I think that's the big attraction and the big element that seems to be missing for what's out there currently."
UC San Francisco has received $112 million from CIRM. The dean of its medical school sits on the CIRM governing board.

Pflumm's article noted the plethora of existing stem cell-focused journals, as many as 18 by one count.

The Scientist magazine carried only a brief mention of the journal. It said,
"The scientific community welcomes two new scientific journals to the peer-reviewed landscape—Nature Publishing Group’s Nature Climate Change and Stem Cells Translational Medicine, an open-access title launched by the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). Nature Climate Change will make its official debut next month, but has been publishing free content (about 12 papers or commentaries per month) since January on its website. Stem Cells Translational Medicine is the first foray into the publishing world for California’s state-funded stem cell agency, and the first print installment is slated for publication next January, with some online articles going up in December. You can check out an iPad preview of the journal here."
That link is to a document uploaded to the Internet by the California Stem Cell Report.

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