F1000Posters, an open access poster repository, provides a permanent, structured environment for the deposition of posters as well as a trustworthy venue for ongoing discussion and development of the information being presented.
The early scientific information presented in conference posters is universally agreed to be an important resource but, unfortunately, it is almost always completely lost once a conference is over. As a result, posters are only viewed by a handful of people before they disappear, either forever or until the research is later published as a paper. Often important work never gets published, particularly if it focuses on negative results or case studies. The system of removing posters from view after a conference is over represents a vast loss to the scientific community of unique and potentially valuable information.
The rise of social networking as a channel for communication is enabling the scientific community to learn more about conference posters and presentations and is extending the reach of the data presented at meetings - scientists blog and twitter about research and share information and opinions - but there are few safeguards in place.
Access to new findings
F1000Posters enables researchers to maximize the value of their poster by dramatically increasing access and by helping to prevent lengthy delays before others can benefit from new research. The feedback gained by scientists from such early dissemination may help direct future work and also may reduce the duplication of effort between labs and departments, whether by speeding progress towards a similar goal or by preventing the replication of work that has previously failed.
Preliminary feedback from researchers and publishers/editors
In several surveys of researchers from across life science and medicine, over 85% of the several thousand respondents told us that they would submit their posters to such an open access repository and 95% thought a repository would be useful to them as users. Initial responses from some of the leading publishers and journal editors has also been supportive and many have confirmed that they would not regard deposition of a poster in the repository as prior publication (see full details of the responses obtained so far).
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