Open-science advocate before open was cool
Associate Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development, University of California, Berkeley
Over the past year, mainstream research funders have begun to trumpet the importance of making scientific discoveries available to the public without sticking readers with hefty subscription fees. Michael Eisen, a biologist at UC Berkeley, has been a leading voice in the "open science" movement for more than a decade.
As many of his fans know, Eisen cofounded the Public Library of Science, an open-access publisher with popular publications such as PLOS ONE, which manage to rapidly publish research online with high standards for peer review. The idea behind unfettered access to scientific research findings involves spreading information quickly in the name of progress.
And Eisen and his PLOS cofounders start looking quite pioneering as the Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Max Planck Society launch a new open-access journal for biomedical research called eLife. Others will follow.
Yet Eisen's credits in the publishing world involve far more than advocacy. His Berkeley lab, according to his bio, taps computational, experimental and evolutionary genomic methods to explore animal development. And in 1998 he wrote one of the most highly cited Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences papers ever, tackling cluster analysis of gene expression data.
Curiosity genes must run in the family. Eisen's brother, Jonathan, is a professor and microbe expert at UC Davis who serves as academic editor-in-chief of PLOS Biology. And their late father, Howard, was a researcher at the NIH.
Wellcome joins chorus calling for free online access to medical research