Saturday, October 9, 2021

Single cell proteomics (and preprints) take center stage!


Chances are you've probably seen this picture of Ying Zhu and this feature in Nature a couple of weeks ago. If you haven't it is a solid read. Obviously, I'm biased, because basically all the plans I have for something called "tenor" involve applying single cell proteomics to better understand how drugs work. 

While this is a great read and highlights papers that we've talked about a lot in lab (with the exception of yesterday's ("yesterday"'s) post which I missed somehow. 

The thing that really jumps out to me is this -- can you imagine even 3 years ago, those old fogies (is that a word?) at Nature running a feature on 15 studies (whoops, they added one they missed) 16, studies where 7 of them were preprints? 

I think this is really important because preprints are definitely at a crossroads. 

The data is coming in and it's pretty conclusive: preprints are not getting cited in peer reviewed literature. Now, if a preprint is there and it gets accepted, it appears that having preprinted the study does help. Honestly, I think this may just be the fact that there are two places where the study will pop up in a Google search.  (Here is one reference, caution, this is the direct .pdf download). 

This is despite a completely scientific and unbiased survey that I performed in the Spring that came back with these results. 192 scientists is a pretty big number. There are only like 8 million in the world. 

A grant I applied for recently didn't consider preprints at all. They simply couldn't be uploaded or linked, so if you need grants, is this the best use of your time? 

Again, we're at some sort of a crossroad. What's best for the world? Obviously preprinting data, open sharing all of it and pushing to make the world a better place. What's good for individuals? Hopefully it will be those same things! This Nature feature suggests that maybe it can be, but it doesn't look like we're there quite yet.

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