I’ve been conducting an informal survey among authors who have published articles with CSH Protocols and I wanted to pass along their feedback on the process and what they feel they’ve gotten out of writing up methods for publication.

Many labs are finding publishing with CSH Protocols to be a valuable training tool for students. Several labs have reported that they’re requiring each graduate student to write up and submit one method used by the lab. The student gets hands-on experience with the writing, submission, peer review and editorial process. If successful, the student gets a publication to add to his or her C.V. Meanwhile, the lab gets their methods formally documented, something that can be very important as students graduate and postdocs move on to new jobs. As expertise leaves the lab, it’s important to be able to train new members in regularly-used methods. And of course, publishing more papers never hurts the lab when it is time for fundraising.

At CSH Protocols, we have made a concerted effort to establish a unified house style for presenting the wide variety of methods that we offer. Because of this, our editorial staff works closely with authors, tweaking and reformatting their submissions, both before and after acceptance, to make them clear, understandable and complete. This requires more effort on our part than one would see with a standard data-based journal, but, since we’re trying to provide the most useful tool possible, this editorial oversight is important. Our authors report that this is helpful on their end as well, as it saves them time and effort and, as mentioned above, enhances the publication process as a training tool.

Your laboratory’s methods are welcome here as well. We want CSH Protocols to be as broad and diverse a toolbox as it can be. If you have any questions, feel free to send along an e-mail. Instructions for authors are here, and papers can be electronically submitted here.