Working Group

Proposal to develop a novel journal concept for evolutionary meta-analyses

PI(s): Mohamed Noor (Duke University)
Maria R Servedio (NESCent)
Start Date: 1-Mar-2006
End Date: 31-Oct-2008
Keywords: meta-analysis, database, evolutionary theory, empirical studies

The tremendous progress made in addressing evolutionary questions over the past several decades has left us with the most challenging ones: questions related to how frequently or under what conditions patterns or processes occur. Individual data points contribute to addressing these questions, but meta-analyses are needed to bring these scattered points together. Meta-analyses would be stronger with international community efforts, particularly as extensive relevant data remain unpublished or published in obscure outlets. We propose a working group to discuss the development of a "novel journal concept" aimed at fostering meta-analyses. The basic principle would include a proposal prior to the synthesis, followed by a call-for-papers bearing new raw data. The bulk of these papers would be small, but refereed, "notes" published online. However, all of these papers would fulfill the requirements for inclusion in the proposed meta-analysis, and their raw data would be submitted simultaneously for direct analysis. Data from these "notes" as well as from other published papers, some of which were identified by the community through "pointers", would then be analyzed to address the broader evolutionary question. We anticipate participation by many scientists who have relevant data too small in scope individually to have been submitted or accepted for publication in mainstream journals. The details suggested here are very preliminary, but we propose to bring together a broad group to discuss this, and related, ideas for synthetic journals. Meta-analyses designed by the working group and presented in the first issues would provide proof-of-concept for the proposed approach.