This week’s issue of Nature is a lively one, that's for sure.
In the news, Jim Giles reports ($) on the Public Library of Science's latest open-access offering, PloS One, an online journal that aims to publish papers using a streamlined review process. Submissions are vetted for technical soundness directly by editorial board members, and it’s left to readers to comment on the impact of published papers. It may be just us, but the folks at Nature don't seem convinced that this "radical project" will succeed. Giles' headline reads "Open-access journal will publish first, judge later," and the article concludes by noting that "rival publishers have suggested that PLoS One is an attempt to prop up PLoS's finances." Gosh, who could those rivals be?
Meanwhile, over in Nature’s correspondence section, an international group of scientists have responded to comments made in a previous news story on Japan's Protein 3000 Project. The authors of the letter rebut claims that data from the effort is "of limited use" or that "a lot of it is junk," and they definitely bristle at one source's suggestion that "a centre of that size should contribute to methodology, but there has been nothing."
On a less feisty, but no less interesting front, Claudia Acquisti and colleagues published their research on the evolutionary history of transmembrane proteins. By looking at the atomic composition of proteins from 19 modern species, the team was able to piece together a hypothesis on levels of atmospheric oxygen affecting the evolution of transmembrane communication. Maybe this also explains why people are so chatty in oxygen-rich casinos.