About


Mathematical oncology is the study of cancer with the aid of mathematical modelling. It is therefore inherently interdisciplinary and utilizes tools, theory and practice from both its parent fields: mathematics and cancer research. Unfortunately it seems as if many researchers in mathematical oncology have inherited their views on dissemination of unpublished work from cancer research, where pre-prints are only circulated to close friends and colleagues, and novel results kept within the confines of the lab, until they are published in peer-reviewed journals. In contrast, the fields of mathematics and physics have adopted a practice of sharing their work prior to publication, most commonly on on pre-print servers such as arXiv. This system of dissemination accelerates the rate at which new findings are communicated within the field, since the time lag of at least 6 months of reviewing, revising, formatting and publishing is skipped, and instead novel results can be discussed and scrutinised by a larger community. 

Many scientists are hesitant to let go of their work into the hands of the public prior to publication in a journal. The reasons for this are many, but the most common ones are fear of having ones ideas and results "stolen", and secondly that peer-reviewed journals might oppose to the fact that the results are already published in the public domain. Both these fears are misguided because posting your results on a pre-print server actually offers a time-stamp available to everyone that shows when it was posted. With regards to journal policies on pre-prints they in general have a positive attitude and will accept papers for review and subsequent publication although they are uploaded to pre-print servers. For a complete list of journal policies you can have a look at http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/.

The purpose of this site is to promote the use of pre-prints in mathematical oncology by providing two key features that today are lacking: firstly, the site will serve as an aggregator of pre-prints of interest to the community, and secondly it will provide a platform for discussion about those papers (a feature that arXiv does not currently support). Our hope is that this effort will accelerate the rate of dissemination of good papers and also serve as a parallel and more inclusive counter-part of the traditional review process. The inspiration for this site came from Haldane's Sieve, a site with similar structure and objectives, but focused on the field of population genetics. To show our appreciation of their pioneering work we have adopted a name along similar lines, honoring Otto Heinrich Warburg, winner of the 1931 Nobel Prize in physiology and the namesake of the Warburg Effect in cancer metabolism.







Further reading:

There have been several recent blog posts (here and here) and a paper in PLoS Biology about the increasing need for preprint dissemination in the biological sciences. Further, the founders of PLoS itself, Jonathan and Michael Eisen, are strong proponents of this, and disseminate their own preprints openly.