Press Archive

AfCS-Nature Signaling Gateway Wins Award for Innovation

Published 09/25/2003

The Nature Publishing Group recently announced that the Alliance for Cellular Signaling (AfCS)-Nature Signaling Gateway ( has won the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) Award for Publishing Innovation.

SDSC provides the bioinformatics infrastructure and information coordination environment for the AfCS, a consortium of approximately 50 scientists at more than 20 academic institutions around the world led by Alfred G. Gilman, a pharmacologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. AfCS researchers pursue unsolved biomedical problems, such as communication among types of heart muscle cells and immune system cells.

This international award is presented annually to products that display "a significantly innovative approach to any aspect of publication", as judged by a panel of independent experts.

"The winner was unanimously agreed. The AfCS-Nature Signaling Gateway is truly innovative. It harnesses cleverly the skills of a commercial publisher (Nature) expert in writing, commissioning, peer reviewing and publishing high-quality content, and the scientific expertise of a group of researchers (a consortium of US cell biology labs)," according to the ALPSP Awards Judging Panel.

Launched in December 2002, The Signaling Gateway is a ground-breaking collaboration between the AfCS, a 10-year, $100m academic research effort, and Nature Publishing Group (NPG). The free online resource is designed for biologists studying the complex cellular signalling pathways in pursuit of results in, for example, cancer research, immunology, neuroscience or drug discovery.

The Signaling Gateway site has three main components. The Data Centre is the AfCS's own repository of data from its laboratories, combined with toolsets and analytical programs for examining this material - online or offline. Accompanying this core data, the Molecule Pages include structured data on 3,500 proteins, with key information derived from other database sources, which will be supplemented by author-entered data from 1,000 recognised experts. The third section, also produced by NPG, is Signaling Update, which comprises news and comment written and commissioned by NPG editors.

The Signaling Gateway is an example of a pioneering business model that allows the scientific community free access to the wealth of cell signaling information through sponsorship from Genentech Inc. and Eli Lilly & Company and a one-off grant from the US National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). This innovative publishing model was recently described in an article by Electronic Publishing Services (EPS) as 'the door to the future'.

The site has quickly become an indispensable resource for the cell signaling community. It now has 50,000 registered users, sends email alerts to 65,000 unique email addresses per week and currently serves around 250,000 page requests a month.

Jayne Marks, Publishing Director of NPG said, "Nature Publishing Group is keen to work with the scientific community to offer resources such as the Signaling Gateway, which shows just how much can be achieved through partnerships between professional publishers and the scientific community."