An Open Letter

Published in Protocols & Methods

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Dear Researcher

I hope that earlier this year you received an email from me. However I know that spam filters are sometimes overzealous, email accounts become dormant and atrophy, passwords are forgotten, or a hundred other reasons why emails don’t get read by their intended recipient.

I am writing to you because you have previously uploaded a protocol to the Protocols Network part of the Nature Protocols website. I wanted to let you know of some major changes to the site which have greatly increased its usefulness. I hope that you will find exciting.

The most important change is the name, which has now been changed to Protocol Exchange which we feel better reflects what the site actually achieves. We hope that the site can now become the attractive place for scientists to share their experimental knowledge that we always intended it to be. The most significant features are:

  • The Protocols are laid out in a cleaner and more modular fashion more in line with the presentation of peer reviewed content in Nature research journals.
  • Protocols are linked to the research papers that relate to them
  • All the Protocols are now presented under a Creative Commons non-commercial licence which means that copyright remains with you as the authors but that anyone is free to read and use the protocols provided that they do not copy or reuse them for commercial purposes.

We have moved your Protocol into this new site and although we are fairly confident that no errors have been added during this transfer it would we very useful if you would look at your protocol and let us know if there any problems with it.

There is also a further feature which I want to tell you about. We have strengthened the concept of Lab Groups with respect to Protocols. In order to upload a Protocol to Protocol Exchange and author must be a member of a Lab Group. Anyone can set up a lab group and then either invite other people to join the group or adjust the settings of the group so other researchers can apply to join the group. Lab groups have a dedicated page on which are collected all the Protocols associated with that lab group. The owner of the group can also choose the upload a picture as a logo for the group and display the groups address and website address if they wish. There is also an RSS feed from each Lab Group page which will allow users to easily display the Protocol they have on the Protocol Exchange on their personal or departmental web pages. Finally all members of a lab group can read Protocols that are being drafted by members of the group

As you have a Protocol already uploaded to the Protocol Exchange we have also created a Lab Group for which you are the owner. You do not need to do anything with this lab group but we very much hope that you will log into Protocol Exchange and take control of your group. To do this please ‘log on’ at the Protocol Exchange site and, once you have done this, email me so that I can assign the Lab Group to you.

We hope that you will want to supply information about your lab including a photograph to act as the group logo and a URL to connect to your personal or departmental home pages. We also suggest that you invite the other members of your laboratory to join your Lab Group (which can be done by entering your colleagues’ email addresses). If you wish you can also change the preferences of the group to allow any users of the Protocol Exchange to request to join your group.

I really hope that you will come to Protocol Exchange and agree with us that this is an exceptionally effective way to share the experimental know-how of yourself and your colleagues. The resource is free to use both for authors and readers, and all Protocols receive a DOI allowing them to be cited in your research papers. All Protocols are also fully discoverable either by the search engine or by a custom browse facility that covers the Protocols both in Protocol Exchange and in the peer reviewed journal Nature Protocols.

I hope that you will be as excited by Protocol Exchange as we are.

Thank you for your help in making Protocol Exchange a revolutionary resource to help speed scientific discovery.


Chris Surridge

Christopher Surridge, PhD

Chief Editor and Associate Publisher, Nature Protocols

The Macmillan Building, 4 Crinan Street,

London, N1 9XW, UK

c.surridge [at]


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