Lead Author of our 500th article tells us why they chose to publish in PeerJ

Today, we are excited to announce the publication of our 500th article! We would like to thank our Authors, Reviewers, Academic Editors, and all our supporters for helping us to reach this exciting milestone.

So today, our Interview with an Author is with Prof. Ubaka Ogbogu, lead author of our 500th publication ‘Newspaper coverage of biobanks

PJ: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

imageUO: I am an Assistant Professor in the Faculties of Law and Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. I also hold a research appointment as the Katz Research Fellow in Health Law and Science Policy. By virtue of the latter appointment, I am affiliated with the University’s Health Law Institute. My research interests are primarily focused on ethical, legal, social and regulatory matters associated with scientific research, particular emerging and innovative biomedical technologies. I live in Edmonton with my wife Gift and two daughters, Maya and Amaka, aged 4 and 5 months. When I am not doing academic stuff, I enjoy food, drink, music, cycling, criticizing paywalls and binge-watching NETFLIX.

PJ: Can you briefly explain the research you published in PeerJ?

UO: The study examines media representations of research biobanks, which are repositories that store biological samples, tools and data for research use. Biobanks raise a variety of ethical, legal and social challenges, especially around issues of consent and privacy. Our study contributes to the academic literature on how different stakeholders reflect on these issues.

PJ: Do you have any anecdotes about this research?

UO: Part of the data analysis for the study was done during a flight to Toronto. Working with an excel spreadsheet on a tiny Microsoft Surface screen is a major hassle. On the plus side, the only way to do data analysis for three hours straight without losing your mind is to trap yourself in a pressurized cabin with a flight map as the only interesting alternative entertainment.

PJ: What kinds of lessons do you hope the public takes away from the research?

UO: Benefits and risks should receive equal attention and consideration in assessments of the ethical and social implications of important and innovative scientific tools and processes. A balanced perspective is important to protecting the welfare of persons participating in biobanking activities, including research.

PJ: If you had unlimited resources, what study would you run?

UO: A study unrelated to any of my current teaching or research interests. Specifically, I would like to investigate the role that local interpreters played in British colonial courts in Nigeria. The idea comes from a Nigerian TV show called Ichokwu that ran in the 80s and 90s about a court clerk/interpreter who used the power of language to subvert the imposed colonial system of justice. 

PJ: Why did you choose to reproduce the complete peer-review history of your article?

UO: I have heard many people say that peer review is broken, for a variety of reasons. Open peer reviews provide a means of assessing such claims, and with time, an open database of reviews for research purposes. Besides, the move towards more openness in academic publishing is a healthy one — secrecy breeds skepticism and often times, corruption.

PJ: How did you first hear about PeerJ, and what persuaded you to submit to us?

UO: I received an email introducing Peer J when it launched. I was intrigued by the vision and concept, and I signed up immediately. I always wanted to publish in the journal, but it does take time to convince colleagues to trust a new journal with no impact factor. However, it was not really a hard sell – they came around quickly after reviewing the aims and mission of the journal. 

PJ: How do you feel about being published as our 500th article?

UO: It is exciting to be a landmark in one of the most innovative ventures in academic publishing in the past half-century or so. I also think this will give our study some more visibility, which is what every academic hopes for.

PJ: Do you have any anecdotes about your overall experience with us? Anything surprising?

UO: I remember doing a double take when I opened the email containing the peer reviews. I was surprised at first to see that the Academic Editor’s comments were more detailed than the reviewers’ comments. However, it became clear when I read through that the Academic Editor had done quite an amazing job with interpreting, clarifying and summarizing the reviewer’s comments. This made responding to the reviews a lot easier.

PJ: How would you describe your experience of our submission / review process?

UO: Straightforward and fast. I was particularly impressed with the role of the Academic Editor. I think this is a PeerJ innovation, and I would like to see other journals adopt the same approach.

PJ: Would you submit again, and would you recommend that your colleagues submit?

UO: Definitely. PeerJ’s openness philosophy, rigorous but useful peer review and cost structure makes it an attractive option for publication. I also want to see more open access journals succeed.

PJ: In conclusion, how would you describe PeerJ in three words?

UO: Innovative, rigorous and democratic.

PJ: Many thanks for your time!

Congratulations to Prof. Ogbogu and his co-authors, Maeghan Toews, Adam Ollenberger, Pascal Borry, Helene Nobile, Manuela Bergmann, and Timothy Caulfield! We look forward to publishing more great research in future months! Join Ubaka Ogbogu and thousands of other satisfied authors, and submit your next article to PeerJ.

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