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Journal of Biological Chemistry Changes Approach to Manuscript Reviews and Eliminates Submission Fees
Date:1/14/2010

Editors say the new mission statement and shift in editorial criteria are in response to changing nature of biological research

BETHESDA, Md., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Journal of Biological Chemistry's editors are unveiling this week a number of changes to the journal's publishing policies. They say the changes are in response to the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of biological research and will help the journal better meet the evolving needs of the scientific community.

(Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100114/DC37802 )

In an editorial in this week's issue of the JBC, which became available online Friday, the editors announced the journal's new mission statement and laid out changes to how manuscripts are judged by peer review. They also reported that the journal's submission fees have been eliminated to expedite the submission process and hold down costs to authors.

"These developments represent a commitment to publishing the very best science in the JBC," said Dr. Herbert Tabor, the journal's longtime editor-in-chief. "Our new mission statement reflects our understanding that molecular and cellular biology studies are being carried out in a variety of fields, and modifying how our reviewers approach manuscripts will better serve both readers and authors."

When the JBC was established in 1905, its founders set out to publish "anything of a chemical nature in the whole field of biology, whether this touches the plant or animal kingdom." In the decades since, the journal has embraced papers that provide clear "mechanistic insight" into any molecular process, which is to say it accepted papers that not only reported that a molecular process occurred but how or why it occurred.

Now, JBC editors are broadening their definition of "mechanism," in light of path-breaking research being done in new, still-developing fields that, while molecular in the level of analysis, has not yet reached the stage at which it provides the level of detailed mechanistic information expected in more established research areas.

"The fields have evolved so much that you can't always understand mechanistic details fully at the outset," explained JBC Deputy Editor Robert D. Simoni. "We recognize that you cannot in a single paper solve a problem entirely. But, if you develop novel insights into the molecular nature of biological processes that are clear, interesting and important -- and that open the door for answering the next generation of questions -- your paper belongs in the JBC."

In the January issue of ASBMB Today, the member magazine of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which publishes the JBC and two other journals, Simoni wrote that "a great number of exciting molecular and cellular biology studies are being carried out in neuroscience, developmental biology, cell biology, medical science, biophysics, immunology, microbiology, physiology, etc. We wish to emphasize that … much of the research in these areas would be very welcome in the JBC."

The "modest course adjustment," he said, also will affect how the journal categorizes manuscripts.

The journal's table of contents will reflect all areas of biology that can be studied at a molecular level. In addition, articles may appear under more than one category, which Simoni said will make finding relevant articles easier for readers and will increase authors' visibility.

To find out more about the Journal of Biological Chemistry, visit www.jbc.org. To read the JBC editorial, visit www.jbc.org/site/home/editorials/toc_changes.xhtml .  To read Simoni's article in ASBMB Today, visit www.asbmb.org/asbmbtoday/asbmbtoday_article.aspx?id=4940.

About the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The ASBMB is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization with more than 12,000 members worldwide. Most members teach and conduct research at colleges and universities. Others conduct research in various government laboratories, at nonprofit research institutions and in industry. The Society's student members attend undergraduate or graduate institutions.  For more information about ASBMB, visit www.asbmb.org.

SOURCE American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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SOURCE American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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