I recently had the chance to talk (via email) with Krastan Blagoev, one of the two Editors-in-Chief of Cancer Convergence, about the founding of this multidisciplinary journal and the driving philosophy behind it. Below is our conversation.
Scott Epstein: Could you give some background about the thinking that went into founding Cancer Convergence?
Krastan Blagoev: Physicists working on cancer problems often have problem finding a journal that is read by the biology and medical research community that will review their paper. This is especially true for theoretical studies although many cancer researchers are interested in their thoughts and results. A major role in shaping the ideas behind the journal was played by Eshel Ben-Jacob, who unexpectedly passed away in 2015. David Packer from Springer was instrumental in gathering and shaping the journal based on many conversations with the community interested in interdisciplinary approach to cancer.
SE: Could you speak a little about the journal’s interdisciplinary nature?
Open access allows worldwide communication between researchers and the public and I believe is part of the democratization of science.
—Krastan Blagoev, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Convergence
KB: We hope to attract research that synergistically integrates approaches from multiple disciplines. There are excellent journals that are dedicated to basic and applied cancer research, but there are only a few and they are not dedicated specifically to cancer that would be open to theoretical models based on mathematics in the main part of the paper. The quantitative parts are published in supplements and very few people read supplements. The culture for example in condensed matter physics is different, theory and experiment go hand in hand and this approach has lead to major discoveries and successful applications.
SE: How did you make the decision for the journal to be open access?
KB: In the past and especially before the Internet became widely available, universities paid subscriptions and only people with access to these subscriptions could access journal articles at the time of their publication. However I believe that the more people think about a problem the faster and deeper we will understand it. Open access allows worldwide communication between researchers and the public and I believe is part of the democratization of science.
SE: How do you hope the journal will impact interdisciplinary cancer research?
KB: I hope that having a journal where researchers can communicate using the language of mathematics will accelerate the integration of interdisciplinary approaches to cancer research and transform the field from mostly observational to a falsifiable science similar to physics.
SE: Is there anything else you’d like to add at this point?
KB:I hope that our new journal serves the science community and the general public and that it contributes to the cure of this devastating disease.