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Synthetic Biologist Dr. Jean Peccoud introduces a major rejuvenation of the PLOS Synthetic Biology Collection and calls on the community to lead the direction of the next update.

Since we launched the Synthetic Biology Collection in 2012, PLOS journals have seen a steady submission of new papers in the field. Today, we are pleased to announce a major reorganization of the collection and would like to request your participation to shape the collection further.

Ivan Morozov (Virginia Bioinformatics Institute)

Ivan Morozov (Virginia Bioinformatics Institute)

The idea of developing a Synthetic Biology Collection was first discussed with PLOS and in particular, PLOS ONE, while Synthetic Biology was evolving fast as a discipline. With its editorial policy precluding editors from making decisions on papers based on anticipated significance and it’s facilitation to serving interdisciplinary fields, PLOS ONEserved this emerging community well. Since the launch of the initial collection there have been over 60 articles curated.

Second Life of the Collection

Today, we announce a major update to the Synthetic Biology Collection. As the number of articles included in the collection has grown, it has become necessary to divide the collection into eight sections corresponding to different areas of synthetic biology, namely:

In addition to the Collection Overview, we are also including two pieces of commentary published in PLOS Biology. The inclusion of two articles published in a PLOS journal other than PLOS ONE is a sign of upcoming changes to the Synthetic Biology Collection. As Synthetic Biology becomes an integral part of the life sciences, it is time to reflect this evolution by including articles published across the suite of PLOS journals in the Synthetic Biology Collection.

Identifying all of the synthetic biology papers published across the PLOS journals is a rather ambitious – and somewhat overwhelming – project. As editors, we are always afraid of not doing justice to some important work that we may have overlooked.  In other cases, we have struggled to decide if a particular paper belonged in the Collection.


Community-Driven Editing – Your Suggestions Wanted

So, as we move forward, we would like to conduct an experiment in crowd-editing.  We would like to have your input. Tell us what papers you think should be included in the Synthetic Biology Collection. You can send us references to papers published in any PLOS journal, all we ask is that you don’t make the selection based on your perception of the article’s significance.

We’d like to continue to be consistent with the editorial policies that allowed Synthetic Biology to flourish at PLOS and see the collection as a way to quickly identify synthetic biology papers published in the PLOS journals irrespective of their perceived significance. In other words, we want to be as inclusive as possible. In particular, if you spot a synthetic biology paper published in PLOS ONE that has not been included in the collection please do bring it to our attention.

We can’t promise that we will include every suggested reference but we will consider each and every one.  This community-driven approach to the development of this collection will enable us to make it more comprehensive and useful to all of us.

So, pitch in. Send us your picks. Get involved. We want to hear from you.

To submit a suggestion for the Synthetic Biology Collection:


  • Tweet your suggestion with the hashtag #CurateSynBio and a URL to the paper
  • Leave a comment on this blog with a URL to your proposed suggestion


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