ZAO provides a platform for scientists and clinicians to publish their findings and source data on Zika and its mosquito vectors within days of submission, so that research, medical and government personnel can keep abreast of the rapidly evolving outbreak.
The channel provides diamond-access: it is free to access and articles are published free of charge. It also accepts articles on other arboviruses such as Dengue and Yellow Fever.
The need for the channel is clearly evidenced by a recent report on the global response to the Ebola virus by the Harvard-LSHTM (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine) Independent Panel.
The report listed 'Research: production and sharing of data, knowledge, and technology' among its 10 recommendations, saying: "Rapid knowledge production and dissemination are essential for outbreak prevention and response, but reliable systems for sharing epidemiological, genomic, and clinical data were not established during the Ebola outbreak."
Dr Megan Coffee, an infectious disease clinician at the International Rescue Committee in New York, said: "What's published six months, or maybe a year or two later, won't help you - or your patients - now. If you're working on an outbreak, as a clinician, you want to know what you can know - now. It won't be perfect, but working in an information void is even worse. So, having a way to get information and address new questions rapidly is key to responding to novel diseases."
Dr. Coffee is also a co-author of an article published in the channel today, calling for rapid mobilisation and adoption of open practices in an important strand of the Zika response: drug discovery - http://f1000research.
Sean Ekins, of Collaborative Drug Discovery, and lead author of the article, which is titled 'Open drug discovery for the Zika virus', said: "We think that we would see rapid progress if there was some call for an open effort to develop drugs for Zika. This would motivate members of the scientific community to rally around, and centralise open resources and ideas."
Another co-author, of the article, Lucio Freitas-Junior of the Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory, added: "It is important to have research groups working together and sharing data, so that scarce resources are not wasted in duplication. This should always be the case for neglected diseases research, and even more so in the case of Zika."
Rebecca Lawrence, Managing Director, F1000, said: "One of the key conclusions of the recent Harvard-LSHTM report into the global response to Ebola was that rapid, open data sharing is essential in disease outbreaks of this kind and sadly it did not happen in the case of Ebola.
"As the world faces its next health crisis in the form of the Zika virus, F1000Research has acted swiftly to create a free, dedicated channel in which scientists from across the globe can share new research and clinical data, quickly and openly. We believe that it will play a valuable role in helping to tackle this health crisis."
For more information:
Andrew Baud, Tala (on behalf of F1000), +44 (0) 20 3397 3383 or +44 (0) 7775 715775
F1000Research is an open science publishing platform for life scientists that offers immediate publication and transparent peer review, avoiding editorial bias and ensuring the inclusion of all source data. This process helps scientists to avoid the traditional, anonymous, pre-publication peer-review process that can cause long delays before new results become visible.
All articles must pass an initial in-house quality check prior to publication on F1000Research. Following open, invited peer review where the referee's name and affiliation and the referee reports are published alongside the article, authors can make revisions that are then published as new article versions.
Since its launch in January 2013, F1000Research has published more than 1100 articles across the life sciences, written by 4,000 authors. For more details on F1000Research go to http://www.