(Photo: Donna Coveney)
Welcome to this RNA/science blog. I will post commentary from others and myself on papers that present new findings in the realm of RNA biology. I may also comment on what transpires in the science community that surrounds me.
My attendance to a small, weekly RNA journal club at MIT, and our discussions therein provide the basis for this forum. Each week I will cite the paper selected for journal club, and when possible, post commentary on the paper from either myself, a colleague, or from a group discussion (commentary will be clearly cited). Praise will be served, and criticisms asserted.
In the spirit of an unrestricted back and forth discourse on these topics, I want to extend an open invitation to all readers to submit responses to posts (‘Comments’), and your own commentaries on any RNA papers that interest you. Send me something interesting you’d like to post concerning a paper, or a more lengthy response to a previous post, and I will make every effort to post it, unedited.
(It is important to note that no papers whose authors have MIT affiliations can be chosen for the aforementioned journal club, and therefore a small, (but not insignificant!), portion of literature concerning RNA biology will be left out from postings highlighting these selected papers. Owing to this limitation, I strongly encourage submissions (to me) of commentary on papers in the field of RNA with MIT authors. Please consider me an unbiased referee, despite my academic affiliation.)
My hope is that this blog will encourage an exchange of ideas and opinions about new publications in RNA biology, transcending some traditional methods for such discourse: overly formal commentary submissions to scientific journals, and informal face to face conversations between scientists (requires both parties to be, yes, face to face). Scientific meetings and presentations remain excellent forums to discuss results, perhaps a blog like this one can extend scientists’ abilities to debate science, keyboard to keyboard.
I realize that there are some barriers to overcome for this to work. No scientist is unbiased, and some may find it difficult to post their opinion(s) about other people’s work for fear of embarrassment, contradicting other data that has not been considered, or a desire to maintain a ‘professional’ image. I don’t have an exquisite counter-argument to these issues, just, if you are a scientist or training to be one, you must debate to perfect your craft: be confident and logical; make every effort to be right, but don’t be afraid to be wrong.