January 2010

JBC: A Call for Papers and a Modest Course Adjustment


JBC CoverThe Journal of Biological Chemistry was founded in 1905 with the principle that the journal would publish work on the “chemical side” of any biomedical discipline. While the fields have evolved over the past 100 years, this guiding principle applies as well today as it did when the journal was founded. 

The co-founders of the JBC, the first editor, John Abel, and chief financial supporter Christian Herter, wrote to many prominent “biochemists” announcing the purpose of the new journal: “We are willing to publish anything of a chemical nature in the whole field of biology whether this touches the plant or animal kingdom.” This broad statement of purpose has evolved into the recently recast JBC mission statement: “The Journal of Biological Chemistry publishes papers based on original research that make novel and important contributions to understanding the molecular and cellular basis of biological processes.”

The JBC has defined “anything of a chemical nature” as work that provides clear “mechanistic insight” into any biological process. In this age of expanding interdisciplinary research, 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 we consider “mechanism” to mean “the molecular process through which biological processes are carried out” and that much of the research in these areas would be very welcome in the JBC.

Upon submission to the JBC, an author’s work receives broad, fair consideration with timely and constructive reviews. JBC has one of the fastest turnaround times from submission to first decision: 22 days. And, if the work is judged to be novel, important, of broad interest and technically sound, it will be accepted and published in the JBC, an icon among scientific journals. The time from acceptance to publication is one day!

In our ongoing effort to improve our service to the research community, changes recently have been made with respect to how papers are submitted, reviewed and published:

• The Table of Contents headings now reflect all areas of biology that can be studied at molecular and cellular levels to emphasize that we welcome submissions from the entire range of modern biological research.

• Articles now may be listed under more than one Table of Contents heading, in keeping with the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of biological research.

• The submission fee for articles has been discontinued to hold down costs to authors and simplify the submission process.

• The JBC Web site, www.jbc.org, has been updated with many new features to better serve readers and authors.

We thank you for making the Journal of Biological Chemistry one of the most highly cited journals in the world. With your support, JBC will continue to publish original research articles that make “novel and important contributions to understanding the molecular and cellular basis of biological processes” for the next 100 years. This is our mission of service.

Robert D. Simoni (rsimoni@asbmb.org) is a professor at the department of biology at Stanford University. He is also deputy editor of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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