FLICKR, MISSERIONWhile the open-access publisher has always promoted data sharing, starting next week PLOS will require authors publishing in their journals to make the raw data behind the results freely available to all.
While many researchers applauded the publisher’s move, others questioned whether submitting authors would be willing to share such information, and at what cost.
“I wonder if most clinical investigators can do this feasibly,” noted Yale University cardiologist Harlan Krumholz. However, added The Cochrane Collaboration’s Tom Jefferson, an epidemiologist and a long-time clinical data-sharing advocate, “If people want to submit stuff for publication [to open-access journals], it’s absolutely right that they should make all the data available.”
CELL, ZINGG ET AL.Among the many ongoing efforts to fully map the mouse brain, a University of Southern California-led team has constructed a detailed connectome depicting the neuronal pathways of the murine cortex. The researchers published their work this week (February 27) in Cell and have made the mouse cortical connectome freely available online.
“The one thing I really appreciate about this work is that it combines the large data scale with careful, manual annotation and analysis of the data,” said Pavel Osten, a neuroscientist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, who was not involved in the project.
ZHIDA SUAlthough several groups have had success reprogramming neurons, none have shown these transformations to work in vivo. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Chun-Li Zhang and his colleagues reported in Nature Communications this week (February 25) on a two-step method for transforming astrocytes into spinal neurons within living mice. But the technique must be improved before any clinical potential is realized, Zhang told The Scientist.
“It’s just a proof of principle,” he said. “We got some cells, but we’re not getting the number we really want for repair. We’re working at full force to boost the efficiency.”
MILAD REZVANIApplying a technique that bypasses pluripotency, a team led by investigators at the University of California, San Francisco, has differentiated human fibroblasts into hepatocytes and used these cells to repopulate a mouse liver. Their work was published in Nature this week (February 23).
This modified approach represents “a step forward in the field,” said Alejandro Soto-Gutiérrez, an assistant professor of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh, who was not involved in the work. “The concept is reprogramming, but with a shortcut, which is really cool.”
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