The Journal of Pain Research
and the Molecule of the Month

The Journal of Pain Research is an important, high-impact journal that publishes very high quality, peer-reviewed research. You can be sure it's rigorously reviewed, as I'm one of their peer reviewers. ;-) It's also an open-access journal, which is a growing movement in the scientific community to make journal articles free to the public.

It also makes sense when you realize that the great majority of scientific research in most countries, including ours, is funded by the government, which uses our tax dollars for all of its research funding. So, an argument has been made that since we funded it, papers describing the research should be ours freely. While I can't agree completely with that argument, for many good reasons, I think it's fantastic when a publisher like Dove sets up a business model where publication costs are split between the publishers and the paper's authors. It's less profitable that way, and page charges (what the authors must pay per published page) are much higher, but there are enough scientists and publishers who believe in open access that it's a growing medium.*

* Open access publication of sponsored scientific research is a current issue with very strong feelings on both sides. The most serious charge is that the peer reviewing in open access journals is sloppy, and inferior articles are often accepted. Even Harvard University has encouraged publishers to move to open access, since they can't afford the ever-increasing subscription fees, which in 2012 cost Harvard $3.5 million.

The following section contains the abstracts to the 20 highest-rated articles in each month's issue! Clicking the title sends you to the paper's page on the Dove site, where the abstract appears. If you'd like a copy of the paper, there's a link for that purpose at the bottom of the abstract. Please try it! Once you get into it, it gets really fascinating.


Molecule of the Month

While you're in that wonderful research mood, you might enjoy this little widget from the RCSB PDB site, "An Information Portal to Biological Macromolecular Structures". "RCSB" is the first letter of the names of the four universities that run the site, and "PDB" stands for "Protein Data Bank". "Macromolecular" just means a very large molecule. Every month, they feature a different macromolecule to discuss in depth.

This is where you can find the structures of neurotransmitters and their receptors, of molecules like insulin and the various endorphins, and many more categories. The search engine is very forgiving, and will accept a great variety of "alternative" spellings. II find it most interesting just to follow various links and see what cool structures I run into.

I recognize that this kind of thing may be too deep for some folks. In that case, if you like, just enjoy the amazing, high-color graphics used to draw the 3D representations of these huge molecules.

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