Today sees the relaunch of the fourth and final publication of the original lineup of PressForward partners, PLOS Collections, with a brand new look and features. So what’s new and what can it do? Victoria Costello of the PLOS Blogs Network explains how this powerful and eclectic source of science discovery serves the research community.
A new design:
The most obvious change is a complete design refresh for both the PLOS Collections homepage and Collection pages themselves. As well as being far more attractive, Collections are now organised
primarily by subject area rather than by journal. The reasons for this are twofold: first, feedback from users told us that finding collections by journal was not intuitive and meant scouring lists in the hope of locating a particular collection, so we hope that organising the content by subject will aid discoverability for readers. Second, PLOS Collections are now less frequently focussed on one particular journal; rather we look to use the vast body of research and commentary published across the seven journals and PLOS Currents to provide breadth and depth of content.
Collections can still be found by journal – by visiting the journal homepages and looking under Browse.
Within collections, articles can now be arranged and put into sections in ways to suit that the topic, no longer simply by article type. This means that curators can subsection subjects to assist discoverability, to tell a story or create a timeline by suggesting the order in which the content should be consumed.
Integrating open content from PLOS and across the web:
The new platform allows the integration of open content from many more sources than PLOS journals.
Curating the Open Access corpus
To create richer and more useful resources for communities and researchers, the new platform allows curators to choose content from Open Access journals and link to these works directly from the collection. By encouraging such reuse of OA content our collections will not only be more comprehensive and beneficial to our users but are also an example of the importance of making scientific research available without barriers.
Integrating blogs, video and more into collections
The amount of scientific discourse taking place outside journals is only increasing – on blogs, social media (Facebook, Twitter) and with other types of non-written media, such as video. The new platform will allow such content to be curated into collections.
We also hope that this will encourage curators to link to data sets, preprints, white papers and lab websites – anything that adds value and is openly available can only help produce a far richer end-product.
A new blog for PLOS Collections
To further support the integration of blogs on the new platform, today we are also launching the PLOS Collections Blog, which will become a dedicated library for posts related to PLOS Collections. The PLOS Collections Blog will provide a place to communicate to the community about exciting new research featured in or related to PLOS Collections, offering authors, collection partners and PLOS staff an opportunity to engage with our researchers and non-researchers alike, creating gateways to key topics and expanding on the latest research developments.
The blog, like the new PLOS Collection site, is organised by subject area, and has been developed in partnership with PressForward. PressForward is a free WordPress plugin that allows the curation of blog feeds from around the web, generating a unified feed of aggregated content that editors can nominate, discuss and republish – with full attribution. This content can then be fed through to collections to create a regularly updated and therefore more relevant publication.
Benefits for our collaborators and authors
Richer and more discoverable collections are a benefit to our collaborators, creating a stronger publication to represent and disseminate work, as well as the option to create content around journal articles to better communicate with both research and non-research audiences alike. By including content outside PLOS journals, we are also giving collaborators more publication choice and the opportunity to include key resources such as white papers and reports. Our hope is to create a single repository of information related to a particular collection that can be a useful resource for collaborators and their communities.
Being part of a collection is also beneficial to authors, giving greater visibility to their work and allowing it to be seen in the context of other work in the field. If you think your research should be featured in a PLOS Collection, contact the team and we will put forward your paper for consideration by the editors who oversee the relevant collection. Or if you’d like to write a blog about a paper already included in a collection (or a collection as a whole) – updating what’s happened in its field since its publication – then get in touch.
Open for Collection Proposals
As before, PLOS Collections remains open for proposals. By completely tearing down the foundations of the old platform and building again from scratch, we have actually made the whole process of publishing collections much easier and more responsive. Therefore we are renewing our call for collection proposals – both for collections of new research and also for collections that dig into the Open Access archive. Contact the PLOS Collections Team via email (email@example.com) or on Twitter (@PLOSCollections) with your ideas and we’ll happily discuss your proposal with the editorial teams here at PLOS.