Today we are pleased to announce the publication of our 200th article! We would like to thank our Authors, Reviewers, Academic Editors, Academic Advisors, and the Open Access community for helping us to reach this exciting goal. In addition to the author interview below, we have created an infographic to help celebrate this milestone.
Dr. Africa Gómez is one of the authors of our 200th publication - Bird migratory flyways influence the phylogeography of the invasive brine shrimp Artemia franciscana in its native American range“”. Dr. Gómez is an advanced Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)-funded research fellow at University of Hull, UK and she has previously authored one other PeerJ article.
When asked how she felt about being published as our 200th article, Dr. Gómez responded: “I have really enjoyed following the journal during its short, but successful history, and being part of it makes me feel somehow proud”.
PJ: Could you give us the take-home message of this research?
AG: Bird migratory flyways influence the way other organisms move about, by transporting plant seeds or animal cysts in their plumage or in their guts, sometimes long distances between stopover sites. Our research involved brine shrimps, small crustaceans that live in salt lakes, and we showed that the patterning of their genetic diversity, indicating the way they colonized the continent, mirrors the main bird migratory routes in the Americas: an Atlantic, a Central, and a Pacific flyway. Other aquatic invertebrates and plants are likely to be impacted by bird migration in a similar way.
PJ: How did you become interested in studying phylogeography, and why do you think it is important?
AG: I felt in love with phylogeography in a meeting in honour of Godfrey Hewitt, in the Alps in 2000. I love genetics and having a historical perspective on evolution, and the field of phylogeography marries both areas, emphasizing the contingency of the distribution of the genetic lineages of organisms. This view is now being routinely applied to understand how humans have evolved, especially given the contributions of ancient DNA studies. I think having this historical perspective is important as it emphasizes the impact of genetic drift and chance in evolution, as opposed to just natural selection.
PJ: What’s next in your research?
AG: Recently I have been carrying research into tadpole shrimp sex chromosomes, which we have recently discovered. I am really excited about this new field and trying to get funding to carry on with it.
PJ: You were about to submit the final revision of this paper when the US government shutdown impacted you. Could you share some details of this story with us, and tell us how you handled the situation?
AG: We submitted some of our sequences to GenBank the day the shutdown started. We couldn’t have anticipated how much the shutdown would affect science from all fields and all over the world. In a sense we were lucky, in which it was only a minor delay in receiving accession numbers back from them, compared to huge impacts in the US itself. It actually had an unexpected positive consequence, as the delay prompted us to publish our manuscript as a preprint in PeerJ, which was my first preprint. The process was really smooth and I was very impressed by the number of views the preprint generated in a few days.
PJ: You have been through the PeerJ publication process twice, how would you describe your overall experience with us?
AG: I am very pleased with my interaction with PeerJ. A true breathe of fresh air in the publication scene. Communication with the journal I would rate as outstanding, it is transparent, immediate and friendly.
PJ: What would you say to a colleague thinking about submitting to us?
AG: I have recommended it to several of my colleagues, and at least one has taken my advice so far. I would say give it a try, you won’t regret it.
PJ: PeerJ encourages Authors to make their review comments visible. Why did you choose to reproduce the complete peer-review history of your articles?
AG: I can’t see any reason why the review process has to be kept private, even if the reviewers’ identities are.
PJ: What are your thoughts about the value of Open Access publishing?
AG: The Open Access movement has made incredible leaps forward in the last few years. It only makes sense that the public can access the science they help support with their taxes. I can’t understand, for example, that citizen science is not Open Access, or that high school kids cannot access real science to research their projects. Open Access makes science truly universal.
PJ: Today, publishing in a “top journal ” is still often considered a “stamp of approval” for funding agencies. In your opinion, are your funding bodies supportive of Open Access and PeerJ?
AG: I am happy that UK funding bodies are supporting Open Access and making it compulsory that research funded by these government organizations has to be published open access. However, it will take a while to move on from the ‘impact factor’ culture, especially when it comes to evaluation of science. I hope this can be achieved in the next few years.
PJ: In conclusion, how would you describe PeerJ in three words?
AG: Friendly, fast, open.
PJ: Many thanks for your time!
Congratulations to Dr. Gómez and her co-authors, Joaquín Muñoz, Francisco Amat, Andy J. Green, and Jordi Figuerola. We are proud to have reached this milestone, and we look forward to publishing more great research in future months!
Check out the infographic that was created by Sophie Kusy to help celebrate this milestone.