Reviews/Directed evolution/Library construction/email request

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This was sent by email to corresponding authors of a number of papers discussing new and improved methods of library construction which cited the original review on 26 April 2007.

Dear Colleague

I am writing to you to invite you or a member of your lab to participate in a project to provide a web-based resource for people working in the area of directed evolution. In 2004 I wrote a review of methodology for generating DNA libraries for use in directed evolution experiments. This, like all reviews, is now becoming out of date. One option would be to write another review. However the opportunity has become available to generate a web-based review that can be updated as required.

Openwetware is an initiative to provide information on protocols and methods for molecular biology in the form of a Wiki, a web based system where ‘anybody’ can edit the content. A new initiative on the site is to develop ‘Wikireviews’ where the content can be updated, corrected, or improved by anyone with access to the site. This provides the potential to provide a dynamic and up to date resource for the scientific and general community to use. There is however a need for quality control both with respect to the actual content, and its presentation. To be useful and accurate there would need to be a group of curators, to look after and maintain the review.

I have converted the existing review (see links below) and aim to bring it up to date over the next few months. I am writing to ask whether you or members of your group would be interested in taking part in the updating process and to help with curation once this is done. I have written to groups who have cited the original review in papers describing a new or improved methodology for library construction. My intention is to submit a short paper describing the updated review and its format, probably to NAR methods online, to act as a formal primary citation. Contributors would naturally be listed as authors on this paper.

In the longer term there is the potential to expand the set of reviews and I would encourage anyone who is interested to consider converting existing reviews or writing new ones (anything published in an Open Access journal can be re-used, and in other cases it may be possible to get permission to re-use text). By including reviews on screening methods, experimental strategies, library design, applications, and other useful topics it would be possible to generate a valuable resource for the community.

If you are interested in contributing please get back to me at this email address, or just to go the openwetware website and get involved directly.