Michael Costigan works in the Neural Plasticity Research Group at Harvard Medical School. His research interests include using microarrays to analyze the transcriptional response of peripheral neurons when injured.
What prompted you to submit an article?
The choice of which journal to submit this study was complex because it bridged two areas - first, a technical evaluation of a new technology and second a novel insight into neuronal biology. We required the paper both to be identified as 'neuroscience' and also easily accessible to those from other disciplines who may benefit from its technical aspects. BMC Neuroscience was a natural solution - free access allowed anyone to browse the actual text from PubMed within a single mouse click and the neuroscience affiliation gave the paper the flavor we desired.
A further advantage to online publishing of a study of this type was the ability to archive the large lists of genes as additional data. This way those who are interested can access the data quickly and easily, leaving the main body of text uncluttered by lengthy tables.
What was your assessment of the electronic submission and peer review process?
Not constrained by old-fashioned publishing techniques BioMed Central makes submitting and publishing online a joy. One advantage to note is BMC Neuroscience allows the original figures to be downloaded in pdf format, removing many conversion issues, and as this is the format everyone downloads a study in anyway there is no loss of image quality.
The peer reviews we received were constructive professional and timely. Once accepted publication speed was awesome, the paper was available online immediately and appeared on PubMed within a week.
What do you think you gained from publishing in an open access journal?
Free web based access removes all the barriers preventing those who wish to view your work from doing so. I would fully recommend publishing this way - the future of publication is online so why not make your study open access too?