New data at conferences, please

New data, please, is the plea in this month’s Editorial in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (14, 457; 2007). Some highlights:

The summer conference season is already in full swing. One of the great things about being a journal editor is the opportunity to go to different meetings (hopefully at beautiful locales), meet different people and learn about exciting new research. But this doesn’t always happen — at least the part about seeing new research presented.

As editors, we are continually looking for the latest and most groundbreaking research, in the hope that we will be able to publish such work in our journal pages. As scientists, we are constantly looking to expand our knowledge into new areas and keep pace with the fields of research we are interested in. This is the main reason for us to attend meetings and conferences (and part of why we became editors in the first place).


We understand that a lot of the hesitation about presenting a laboratory’s most recent results may come from fear of being scooped. It is surprising, though, how much ownership comes with being the first to present a finding. In fact, the amount of discussion new results generate can be an indicator of how well received they will be when finally sent to peer review, since the question-and-answer session that follows the presentation can itself be viewed as an open review process. An advantage to this is that any problems or oversights may be caught ahead of time by the very same group of colleagues who will probably be involved in formal assessment of the results submitted for publication.


Whether it is in the form of a talk, a poster session or a high-profile publication, we are all here to learn and share what we know. It would be good if more scientists took advantage of the expertise gathered at the various meetings they attend by presenting their latest and greatest.

The complete text of the Editorial is available here (subscription or site licence required).


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