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The Journal of Virology has experienced continuous growth since its inception in 1967. The first editor in chief, Bob Wagner, had an impressive vision for the journal, but I suspect that even he could not imagine the excitement that lay ahead. Our current impact factor is 5.308, and we are the no. 1 journal in virology as ranked by Eigenfactor score. The Journal of Virology was the top-cited journal in virology in 2008, with 86,000 citations. We were named one of the 100 most influential journals of the last 100 years in biology and medicine by the Special Libraries Association. The Journal of Virology authors, reviewers, and editors have a lot to be proud of.
Indeed, we are acquiring scientific knowledge at an unprecedented rate. Since all of us have grown up in this environment, it is difficult to imagine that it could be any other way. However, we must not forget that science as we know it is a remarkably fragile enterprise, and its most fundamental elements are challenged constantly. A sizable proportion of the public does not understand the basic principles or methods of science and technology, yet they demand treatments and cures. Scientists see solutions to the world's problems in the unfettered expansion and application of knowledge, but there are many nonscientists who yearn for simpler days when we didn't know as much. Some fear that science causes more problems than it solves. Some do not acknowledge facts as defined by science. Consequently, making decisions that depend on critical analyses of data has become increasingly difficult for the general public (witness the discussions in the news media of vaccination, obesity, genetically engineered food organisms, stem cell biology, cancer causes, global warming, etc.). Interestingly, United States taxpayers continue to provide substantial funding for science despite these disparate views.
How do we keep the scientific enterprise robust and engaged with the public? There are no easy solutions. It is not enough to do great research but to depend on others to keep the system functioning. We all must be involved in the care and feeding of our profession. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” All scientists must give more to sustain what we have. I encourage you to think about how you can make a contribution to promote scientific understanding in the general public. It need not be much, perhaps a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or a presentation about your work at a local high school, but enhancing an understanding of what we do and how we do it is essential if we are to solve the big problems that we face.
An activity of scientists that sustains and advances our profession is peer review. Where would we be without it? Volunteer peer reviewers are key to advancing scholarship and contributing to the quality of a research journal such as the Journal of Virology.
I take this opportunity to thank the 1,592 reviewers who reviewed all those manuscripts for the Journal of Virology last year (1 July 2008 to 19 June 2009). However, I want to single out twenty reviewers who were exceptional. Their efforts merit special recognition.
Dan Barouch, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Ben Berkhout, University of Amsterdam
Michel Brahic, Stanford University
Paul Clapham, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Bryan Cullen, Duke University Medical Center
Jean D. Dubuisson, Institut de Biologie de Lille and Institut Pasteur de Lille
Michael Emerman, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Paul J. Farrell, Imperial College Faculty of Medicine
Thomas Gallagher, Loyola University Medical Center
Adam P. Geballe, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Paul Goepfert, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Felicia Goodrum, University of Arizona
Ronald N. Harty, University of Pennsylvania School of Vet- erinary Medicine
Brett Lindenbach, Yale University
Karen L. Mossman, McMaster University
J.-H. James Ou, University of Southern California
Colin R. Parrish, Cornell University
James M. Pipas, University of Pittsburgh
Matthias J. Schnell, Thomas Jefferson University
John M. Taylor, Fox Chase Cancer Center
These twenty scientists stood out as defined by two important criteria. They reviewed 12 or more manuscripts in that period, and their average review time was 14 days or fewer. All authors appreciate a fast turnaround time, and these reviewers excelled at that. Their reviews were not only timely but also insightful; they improved the science that we published.
At a time when we all are asked to do more and more, such attention to reviewing manuscripts is simply outstanding. They set a high bar for all of us.
Published ahead of print on 7 October 2009.