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Logo of jbcThe Journal of Biological Chemistry
 
J Biol Chem. 2017 April 21; 292(16): 6853–6854.
PMCID: PMC5399131

JBC is on a mission to facilitate scientific discovery

Lila M. Gierasch, Editor-in-Chief

The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) seeks to understand the challenges facing scientists today and to learn how JBC might best serve its authors and readers. We are proud that JBC builds on a 110-year legacy of publication in biological chemistry—defined to be science focused on the molecular underpinnings of life processes. But are we doing the best job we can today at assessing and communicating scientific findings and are we preparing ourselves for the future of scientific publishing?

In the past year, as a first step, we've taken a close look at JBC's processes, policies, and presentation and listened to our authors and readers so that we can make effective enhancements at JBC. Our goal is to help scientists to learn about advances in their research areas and to disseminate the results of their own research clearly, with the highest impact possible. The list below illustrates what we've done so far:

  • Simplified the initial submission process.
  • Implemented a clearer and more accepting Supplemental Data policy.
  • Shortened the review time for Accelerated Communications.
  • Expanded the scope of articles we welcome through changes to our computational biology criteria and the creation of the Methods and Resources category.
  • Hired scientifically trained staff to improve the clarity and impact of article titles and abstracts.
  • Expanded our communication footprint to better share our published articles with potential readers.
  • Created Editors' Picks Highlights so experts can share the context and conclusions of our Editors' Picks papers.
  • Developed Virtual Issues to help readers learn about recent updates in their fields.
  • Established direct transfer from the BioRxiv server so that authors can seamlessly submit their preprints to JBC.
  • Partnered with TrendMD to help readers discover related scientific works across the literature.

And we have more changes coming. Stay tuned for:

  • A new submission site to simplify manuscript handling and improve the author experience.
  • A new publishing platform to improve the reader experience.
  • Author and article metrics to facilitate communication and improve reporting.
  • Further streamlining of the submission process; for example, providing clearer instructions to authors.

Second, we are dedicating ourselves to improving the already rigorous review process and high scientific reproducibility of the work published in JBC and to making the editorial process more transparent. We have taken the following steps to achieve this ongoing goal:

  • Enlisting new associate editors and editorial board members to better engage with all of the scientific communities JBC represents.
  • Augmenting the editorial staff so that every JBC paper can be checked for appropriate image presentation prior to acceptance.
  • Exploring options for data archiving to enable reuse and ensure permanence of the record.
  • Educating researchers on best practices through explanatory articles, videos, and interactive presentations (see, for example, http://www.asbmb.org/asbmbtoday/201701/DueDiligence/).
  • Increasing transparency in the review process by explaining JBC's practices (http://www.jbc.org/content/292/3/1535) and including the names of handling associate editors on papers.
  • Establishing an appeals committee to formally handle substantive author concerns regarding a particular manuscript's review.
  • Partnering with the ASBMB to create educational opportunities on best research practices.

Third, we are doing our best to anticipate the future and to position JBC at the vanguard of scientific publishing. The way researchers communicate findings, disseminate results, mine the literature, and report experimental procedures can be greatly enhanced by deploying new technologies. JBC seeks to be an early adopter of advances in the field of scientific publication and to help create living publications that better serve the needs of scientists. Toward these ends, we are:

  • Partnering with Bio-Protocol (http://www.bio-protocol.org/) to encourage JBC authors to publish step-by-step protocols.
  • Partnering with artificial intelligence/machine-learning programmers to facilitate discoverability of JBC content.
  • Exploring how to link publications both to trace the historical path of a scientific study and to see how protocols have evolved and been modified over time.
  • Exploring how to incorporate interactive data into article figures.
  • Adopting new technologies to enhance the reading experience.
  • Considering continuous publication to speed and improve scientific communication.

JBC is committed to building on its reputation for enduring science, its partnership with the ASBMB, which represents the field of biological chemistry, and its record of using advances in publishing technology to help readers and authors. Please join us at the ASBMB annual meeting at the Experimental Biology 2017 conference in Chicago (booth #1214) to celebrate JBC's renewed commitment to its mission, or write us at gro.bmbsa@cbj to share your suggestions for JBC's future. Please go to jbc.org/mission to learn more about how JBC can facilitate scientific discovery.


Articles from The Journal of Biological Chemistry are provided here courtesy of American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology