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Nature Buys a Stake in Open Access

Nature Publishing Group has purchased a majority investment in open-access publisher Frontiers, the Nature News Blog reports. Kamila Markram, a Swiss Federal Institute of Lausanne neuroscientist, co-founded the company in 2007 and it now publishes 14 journals, which put out a total of 5,000 articles last year.

Frontiers uses a cooperative peer-review model in which authors and reviewers discuss the papers in an online forum; reviewers' names, the Nature News Blog adds, are listed on the final paper. "Referees and handling editors are named on published papers, which is very unusual in the life sciences community," says Philip Campbell, the editor-in-chief of Nature, in a statement. "Nature has experimented with open peer review in the past, and we continue to be interested in researchers' attitudes."

Because of this approach, Markram says that the journals only reject between 5 percent and 10 percent of papers submitted.

Going forward, the companies say that they will expand the "Frontiers in…" series and have bilateral links between their websites to ensure that open-access papers are visible at both spots. "Combining NPG's established publishing expertise with Frontiers' innovative solutions for researchers opens up a wealth of opportunities for transforming the landscape of science communication," Markram, who is now the CEO of Frontiers, says in a statement. "Frontiers is not only aiming to innovate in open access, but also to provide a more transparent and constructive peer review process, and offer an ecosystem of tools for scientists to build their academic standing."

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.