Faculty of 1000 Biology

Article excerpt

Faculty of 1000 Biology. Biology Reports, c/o Science Navigation Group, Middlesex House, 34-42 Cleveland Street, London, WlT 4LB, United Kingdom; +44.0.20. 7631.9131; fax, +44.0.20.7631.9926; institutions@biomedcentral.com; http://www.fl000biology.com; free 7-day trial; subscription-based service. ISSN: 17404118.

Purpose

Faculty of 1000 (FlOOO) Biology ("Major Advances. Expert Opinions.") is described by its publisher as a "next generation literature awareness tool." Launched in January 2002, its purpose is to help scientists identify research trends and highly regarded papers in 18 biological fields as recommended by over 2,300 leading researchers in those fields.

Organization

Fl 000 Biology categorizes all of biology into 18 fields (a.k.a., "faculties" or subjects): biochemistry, bioinformatics, biotechnology, cell biology, chemical biology, developmental biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, genomics and genetics, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, molecular medicine, neuroscience, pharmacology and drug discovery, physiology, plant biology, and structural biology. Each field in turn is subdivided into 5-14 subtopics (a.k.a., "sections," total =110); for example, neuroscience includes behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, motor systems, neural homeostasis, neurobiology of disease and regeneration, and other relevant topics.

Every field is managed by two to four "heads of faculty," and each subtopic has two to four "section heads," who manage ten to sixty "faculty members." The heads of faculty have been selected on the recommendation of a "large number of scientists we talked to." They selected the section heads, who in turn selected the faculty members for each subtopic, upon approval of the heads of faculty. Faculty members are selected based on the following criteria: (a) the number of faculty members must be proportionally representative of the number of papers published within a given field; (b) the selected faculty members must be well respected by their peers and perceived as being fairminded; and (c) there must be a good representation of nationalities, genders, and experience (senior and junior scientists).

Faculty members are not paid but do receive free subscriptions to F1000 Biology, Faculty of 1000 Medicine, and certain BioMed Central journals. They also receive "handtailored industry-leading literature alerting tools" and can sponsor an academic institution in a lower-middle income country to receive a free F1000 Biology subscription.

General description

Faculty members are asked to identify the most interesting papers they read each month. As of October 2006, over 30,000 articles have been evaluated. The majority of articles are post-2002, but faculty members may select any paper from any year. AU papers selected for inclusion in F1000 Biology are subject to a 5-part evaluation system.

1. Faculty members submit a brief structured comment on the selected paper that explains the main findings and why they chose it.

2. A rating is assigned to each paper according to these standards:

a. "Recommended": of specialist interest, recommended reading for a section (rating =3)

b. "Must Read": of general interest, a must read for more than 1 subject or section (rating =6)

c. "Exceptional": of wide-ranging interest, a landmark paper in the top 5% of publications each year (rating=9)

3. These ratings, along with the number of faculty members who have selected it, are used to calculate the "FlOOO factor" for each paper. The F1000 factor is the mean of the 2 highest scores plus the sum of all scores divided by 30. For example, say a paper has 4 ratings: 6, 6, 9, 9. The formula for the F1000 factor, which corresponds to an "exceptional" rating, for this paper would be:

4. The paper is then classified into at least 1 of 7 types: new finding, technical advance, interesting hypothesis, important confirmation, controversial findings, refutation, and /or novel drug target. …