Are there too many stem cell journals?

Stem cells differentiate and proliferate, and so do stem cell research journals, USF neuroscientists say

Tampa, FL (Aug. 17, 2010) — Are there too many stem cell research journals?

This question has been posed by Dr. Paul Sanberg and Dr. Cesar Borlongan of the Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair at the University of South Florida. Their article appears in the current issue of Stem Cell Reviews and Reports.

Both Dr. Sanberg and Dr. Borlongan are concerned about the quality of the science being published in the proliferating stem cell journals.

“Because stem cells have the ability to differentiate and proliferate, there has been a great increase in research into stem cell-based regenerative medicine over the last decade,” said Dr. Sanberg, director of the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair at USF Health. “Paralleling this trend in research is a similar differentiation and proliferation of stem cell journals.”

Despite their relative newness, five stem cell journals have achieved impact factors.

The authors suggest that the proliferation of stem cell journals may be related to the current trend of publishing “open access” and on-line journals and their article includes a review of stem cell journals, noting their initial circulation year and impact factors.

“Stem cell research is one of the most enterprising areas of medical science, so it is not surprising that entrepreneurial publishers have developed numerous publication outlets,” said Dr. Borlongan, the center’s associate director.

The authors concluded that whether a further proliferation of stem cell journals continues or does not depends on whether the stem cell field “differentiates” into a “more mature research arena.” They recommend that potential authors follow Good Publications Practices when choosing where to place their work, including assessing the publisher, editorial board membership, manuscript review process, associated organizations, and, in particular, the scientific soundness of studies published by relatively new stem cell journals.

“The development of a more mature stem cell research arena will hinge on the quality of stem cell science peer review,” concluded Dr. Sanberg.

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The mission of the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair is to develop new therapeutic strategies to promote repair and regeneration of aging and diseased brain. Building on a foundation of excellence in basic and clinical research, we focus on translating innovative ideas into industrial partnerships, educational and clinical services to address key needs of the community and those suffering from brain injury and disease.

- Release by Randy Fillmore, USF Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair

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