the new super drug and a glimpse about the future of science

A group at MIT has revealed a new drug that might revolutionize treatment of viral infections. The drug selectively causes infected cells to destroy themselves before the virus spreads, thus shutting down and eliminating viruses. Since it’s a generic strategy – cell suicide is triggered by certain chemicals appearing whenever *any* virus shows up – it might be able to cure anything from AIDS to influenza. Certainly, if it pans out, the biggest thing since antibiotics in the 1940s.

Here’s an orgtheory observation. This humongous finding was reported in PLoS One, the innovate online journal. Why is this a big deal? Well, PLos One is an online, open access journal. Another key difference. From the wiki:

PLoS ONE is built on several conceptually different ideas compared to traditional peer-reviewed scientific publishing in that it does not use the perceived importance of a paper as a criterion for acceptance or rejection. The idea is that, instead, PLoS ONE only verifies whether experiments and data analysis were conducted rigorously, and leaves it to the scientific community to ascertain importance, post publication, through debate and comment.

In other words, what might be one of the first major revolutionary discoveries in medical science was reported in a journal that is online, free, and focuses on technical skill while leaving “relevance” to the reader. They didn’t bother with the major basic science or clinical journals. More evidence that the journal system we now use is a dinosaur.


Written by fabiorojas

August 20, 2011 at 12:30 am

Posted in academia, fabio, research

6 Responses

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  1. […] (Fittingly, I link to the ArXiv version here. A post today on orgtheory mentioned that a major breakthrough in medicine has just been published in an open access PLoS […]


  2. That’s really cool (the journal; i’d heard about the discovery already).


    David Hoopes

    August 24, 2011 at 5:19 am

  3. […] at orgtheory, Fabio Rojas explains why the publication of this discovery in PLoS One may well constitute a landmark event in academic […]


  4. Fabio says: “More evidence that the journal system we now use is a dinosaur.”
    I wish you had told me that two months ago!



    August 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm

  5. Sorry, Jerry. But yes, the social science journal system is pretty much a dinosaur herd at this point.



    August 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm

  6. […] is not a fantasy. As I noted in an earlier post, there is a journal called the “Public Library of Scince” or PLoS. The PLoS journals […]


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