JBC launches program
for early-career scientists

Postdocs and new investigators invited to participate in peer review

Published October 01 2019

The Journal of Biological Chemistry has launched a program designed to involve scientists at early stages of their careers in peer review.

The JBC Early-Career Reviewer Board offers postdoctoral researchers and newly independent investigators a structured path for developing peer-review skills and learning about the scholarly publishing process. In addition, editors said, the program promises to diversify the community of peer reviewers and make use of untapped scientific expertise.

“Peer review is the cornerstone of the trust [scientists] place in each other,” JBC Editor-in-Chief Lila Gierasch of the University of Massachusetts Amherst wrote in a recent editorial. When a research group submits a paper to the JBC, an associate editor shepherds it through the review process. Historically, the associate editor has recruited professors from the journal’s editorial board and, if needed, external specialists to provide expert evaluations of the findings.

Now associate editors have the option of adding an early-career reviewer to that roster of reviewers. All of them will work together to assess the scientific approaches, results and conclusions of each manuscript submitted to the JBC to determine whether it should be published or needs more work. Supplementary evaluations by early-career reviewers will be assessed by associate editors, who will work with the early-career reviewers to hone their recommendations for authors.

“By getting feedback on the clarity of their written reports and advice on the level of detail and emphasis in critiques, the ECRs will gain valuable information about how to constructively participate in the publishing process,” Gierasch wrote.

She emphasized that the initiative will provide emerging scientists with valuable training and provide the journal with fresh and diverse perspectives: “We anticipate that some of our ECRs will go on to serve as full editorial board members, further establishing their credentials as experts in the field.”

Learn more on the JBC ECRs webpage.

Angela Hopp Angela Hopp is the ASBMB’s communications director and executive editor of ASBMB Today. Follow her on Twitter.