NEWS FROM THE EMBO COMMUNITY eLife readies for launch EMBO Members FIONA WATT and DETLEF WEIGEL together with EMBO Associate Member RANDY SCHEKMAN are leading the editorial team of the new scientific journal eLife. eLife, which is financially backed by the Wellcome Trust, the Max Planck Society and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will launch an open access journal for the life and biomedical sciences later this year. “The editorial team of eLife will invite and consider the best contributions from all sources in the life sciences and biomedical community,” said Watt. “We will ensure fair, fast and high-quality editorial decisions for all manu- scripts through an evaluation process that will be carried out by active researchers representing the breadth of the scientific community.” Watt, Director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London, has been an EMBO Member since 1999. She is widely recognized by the scientific community for elucidating mechanisms that control epider- mal stem cell renewal, differentiation and tissue assembly, and discovering how these processes are deregulated in disease. Expanding on the publishing process for the journal, Detlef Weigel said: “Because eLife is an online-only publication, there will be no The scale of information in modern sciences is growing in a breathtaking way. Every day more than two thousand research arti- cles are published and the volume of published data doubles every three years. Text-mining saves researchers time by identifying papers that are the most relevant to their research area. EMBO Fellow Max Haeussler has made an important contribution towards making better use of scientific data. Haeussler, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California in Santa unnecessary length restrictions. We will take full advantage of the online format to smoothly inte- grate material that is often relegated to supple- mentary PDF files. We will also aim to streamline the review process, by reducing revision cycles and by having reviewers and editors consult to provide a consolidated view of their comments in the decision letter. In these matters, we will build on several of the practices that have been pioneered by the EMBO family of publications.” Developments in digital media offer consid- erable opportunities for the presentation of research results. eLife intends to use the latest digital media to increase the utility of data for further research and to broaden participation to the widest possible audience. Detlef Weigel, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, was elected an EMBO Member in 2003, in recognition of his discoveries of how flowering time and floral patterning are regulated. In recent years, Weigel has focused on causes and consequences of naturally occurring genetic and epigenetic variation. Randy Schekman, Professor at UC Berkeley and HHMI Investigator, was elected an EMBO Associate Member in 2000 and is widely known for his work on the molecular mechanism of vesicular traffic in the secretory pathway. eLife is scheduled to make its debut online in late 2012. Further information is available at Cruz, developed an online tool that integrates text data into the Human Genome Browser of the University of California. The search engine identifies bits of text that look like letters of a DNA sequence and links together all papers that mention that particular sequence. If, for example, someone writes about a gene and doesn’t use the correct name of this gene, only few people would find it. But if the article includes any piece of the gene sequence, the search engine would identify it. The text-mining browser, which includes data from PubMed Central and Elsevier, went live in mid-May ( An ambitious plan. The young researcher wants to scan all existing post-2000 scientific literature amounting to seven million articles for referenc- es to DNA sequences. “For legal and technical reasons it’s impossible to include all references to genomic resources from all published research articles in our search engine,” he says. “But we aim to cover 60–80 percent.” The tool allows a researcher who is not an expert on a particular gene to view all relevant literature quickly and easily. “It’s similar to a Google map with various data sources that can be overlaid onto the genome with a mouse click,” explains Haeussler. The genocoding project is a continuation of a previous plan that he initiated in 2006 as a biology graduate student together with his colleague Casey Bergman. 8 EMBOencounters | Summer 2012 | ©2012 EMBO Google map for genomes Mining seven million scientific research papers for DNA sequences to make useful connections, EMBO Fellow MAX HAEUSSLER created a new tool to facilitate the work of scientists. © eLife