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American Society for Microbiology's newest journal earns a high impact factor in latest rankings

Less than two years after publishing its first issue, the online open-access journal mBio is now ranked among the top 20 highest-impact microbiology journals according to Thomson Reuters, which has just released its Journal Citation Reports for 2011. Thomson Reuters tracks the number of times scholarly articles are cited by other authors and compiles the information into "impact factors", rough measures of the quality or standing of a journal within its field. Since the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) launched mBio in April 2010, it already boasts an impact factor of 5.311 and ranks 16th among all microbiology-centered journals.

mBio is ASM's first broad-scope open-access journal and is published solely online. Among the journal's other distinguishing features is its streamlined decision policy, a response to what many in science perceive to be overly onerous revision requirements by many study reviewers. Using a rigorous peer-review process with an eye to importance and impact, mBio offers authors an up or down decision on manuscripts and will request only minor revisions. The average time to first decision for all mBio manuscripts (excluding those editorially rejected) is 23 days.

In its short history, mBio has published a number of studies and opinion pieces that have garnered national and international attention, in such media outlets as the New York Times, MSNBC, and CNN. An article published in February 2011 by scientists at Northwestern University was the first to reveal the presence of human DNA in a bacterium, the pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a genetic entanglement that many thought was not possible and contributes to our understanding of how pathogens and hosts can evolve together. The news about gonorrhea was picked up by bloggers and writers for the national press.

mBio published another high-profile article in February 2012 which revealed that one type of MRSA, a bacterium that causes invasive skin infections, most likely acquired its resistance to antibiotics while it lived in livestock. The findings illustrated the best evidence to date linking antibiotic use on the farm and antibiotic resistance in an organism that can cause lethal infections in humans. The article added fuel to an already fiery debate about the wisdom and ethics of using antibiotics as growth promoters in livestock.

Editor-in-Chief, Arturo Casadevall, says that the goal for the next year is a continued focus on identifying highly important papers.

While the journal rankings by Thomson Reuters are not the final word on journal quality, they do offer authors guidance on which journals are more likely to garner attention from other scientists in their particular field. ASM expects that mBio's streamlined editorial process, rigorous review process, and high caliber research studies will continue to provide readers with a quality publication and will propel the journal even further up the impact factor rankings in 2012.


Contact: Jim Sliwa
American Society for Microbiology

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