Evaluating the Openness of a Journal

One of the most notable characteristics of open access journals is that articles are freely available to read. While that is an essential requirement for any open access (OA) journal, there are other facets of OA that should be considered when selecting a journal. By submitting to a journal that follows OA best practices, your work will be more likely to benefit from increased visibility and citations than from less open journals.

If you are unsure about how to get started with evaluating the openness of a journal, check out the HowOpenIsIt? guide. This resource from the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) outlines the key elements of open access and shows how each element has varying degrees of openness. These elements include reader rights, reuse rights, copyrights, author posting rights, automatic posting, and machine readability.

Reader rights refer to how quickly your article is available for others to read. Does a journal publish articles as OA immediately, or do their articles exist behind a paywall for an embargo period of six months or longer? Also look into the journal’s policies on Creative Commons licenses to find out how your work can be used and built upon with proper attribution. Continue reading

Introducing a New Tool for Single-Cell Gene Expression Analysis

Are you ever in need of easy-to-use, robust tools and algorithms to help analyze, annotate, and identify cell types in your single-cell NGS data? Do you ever want to discover key biomarkers for cell types, tissues, and diseases without the tedious work of curating and analyzing each dataset? Do you ever look for the biological context of specific pathways underlying your single-cell data?

HSLS Molecular Biology Information Service is pleased to announce that we now license three concurrent seats for a new single-cell gene expression analysis module within the long-licensed CLC Genomics Workbench from QIAGEN Digital Insights. It is point-and-click, GUI-based software that does not require programming experience to use. Continue reading

HSLS Librarians Participate in Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon

When was the last time you used Wikipedia? Considering that Wikipedia is estimated to be the fifth most-used website in the world, there’s a good chance that you’ll find yourself on Wikipedia fairly often. Whether you go there directly or Google something that leads you to a Wikipedia article, there is no denying that there seems to be a Wikipedia article for almost any topic you can imagine. In English-language Wikipedia alone, there are over 50,000 articles on health and medicine topics. Medical professionals, health science students, and the public use Wikipedia to find health information. Wikipedia has been estimated to be the most frequently used health information resource on the web, with more page views than government-run websites such as that of the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. and the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, as well as privately-owned sites like WebMD.

National Library of Medicine #citeNLM Wikipedia edit-a-thonThe Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) runs campaigns twice a year that encourage people to add citations from National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources—such as PubMed and MedlinePlus—to Wikipedia articles related to a chosen theme. The goal of these campaigns is to improve the amount and quality of health information available on Wikipedia. Continue reading

Common Data Elements: Benefits and Feedback Requested

Common Data Elements (CDEs) are definitions that allow data to be consistently captured and recorded across studies. Simply put, they allow researchers to ask the same questions in the same way across studies and receive standardized responses. For example, consider the following two questions about adolescent exercise, used on two different surveys.

Survey 1 Question:

In the past 7 days, how many days did your child exercise so much that he/she breathed hard? (Choose one)

  • No days
  • 1 day
  • 2-3 days
  • 4-5 days
  • 6-7 days

Survey 2 Question:

In the past 7 days, how often did your child exercise or participate in sports activities that made them breathe hard for at least 20 minutes. (Fill in the blank)

  •  __ day/s

The results from each could not be combined, as one question provides options while the other allows write-in responses, and their definition for exercise may vary (as one explicitly states 20 minutes). Continue reading

A Rare Look into the Special Collections at HSLS

Readers of the HSLS Update’s Treasures of the Rare Book Room series know about the fascinating stories behind some our oldest and most significant books housed in the HSLS Rare Books and Special Collections. While examining these unique items usually requires an appointment, a new video series invites our readers to a behind-the-scenes look at the collection.

The Medical Treasures virtual series follows curated themes that allow you to explore interesting books and their importance in the field of medicine. Gosia Fort, PhD, who manages the Rare Book and Special Collections, narrates the stories.

Two videos of the series are now viewable on demand:

Continue reading

HSLS Staff News

The HSLS Staff News section includes recent HSLS presentations, publications, staff changes, staff promotions, degrees earned, etc.

Names in bold are HSLS-affiliated


Barbara Epstein, HSLS Director, has been awarded MLA’s “Carla J. Funk Governmental Relations Award” in recognition of leadership in governmental relations through service on the Joint Legislative Task Force of the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries and the Medical Library Association.


Ansuman Chattopadhyay, Assistant Director for Molecular Biology Information Services:

Ardila DC, Aggarwal V, Singh M, Chattopadhyay A, Chaparala S, Sant S. Identifying Molecular Signatures of Distinct Modes of Collective Migration in Response to the Microenvironment Using Three-Dimensional Breast Cancer Models. Cancers (Basel). 2021;13(6):1429. doi:10.3390/cancers13061429 Continue reading

Featured Workshop: Advanced PowerPoint for Presentations

HSLS offers classes in a wide array of subjects—molecular biology, database searching, bibliographic management, and more! You can quickly view all Upcoming Classes and Events or sign up to receive the weekly Upcoming HSLS Classes and Workshops email.

This month’s featured workshop is Advanced PowerPoint for Presentations. The workshop will take place on Friday, April 23, from 1 p.m.–2:30 p.m.

Register for this virtual workshop*

Advanced PowerPoint for Presentations is an adapted hands-on workshop that demonstrates ways to incorporate design, images, videos, and transitions into your PowerPoint presentations. While the universal message you are trying to convey through your presentation is certainly important, the overall design of your presentation is also an instrumental part of keeping your audience engaged throughout the entire presentation. The ultimate goal of your presentation is to captivate your audience and ensure they will benefit from the information they see and hear. If your PowerPoint slides are not designed with the audience in mind, your message may fall flat. Outdated themes and fonts, outlandish colors, and overcrowded slides can distract your audience from retaining the information that is being shared. Continue reading