A year of open access

Nicholas O. Davidson Kerry-Anne Rye Alex Toker
By Nicholas O. Davidson, Kerry-Anne Rye and Alex Toker
Feb. 10, 2022

It’s been just over a year since the journals published by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology became fully open access. We asked the editors of the ASBMB’s journals how the transition has gone and what they’re planning for the future. Here’s what they told us.

A great year for JLR

By Nicholas O. Davidson and Kerry-Anne Rye

The move to open access in early 2021 went very smoothly thanks to the great work of ASBMB staff, our associate editors and our editorial board members.

Our seminal accomplishment in 2021 was the 32% increase in the journal impact factor to 5.922, the highest in a decade. Our associate editors and editorial board members have underpinned this terrific outcome by setting a high bar for article acceptance and reducing the average time to a first decision to just 14 days. Raising the journal impact factor and reducing the review time are two of our highest priorities, and we will continue to work on improving them even further in 2022.

We are delighted to note that two-thirds of the 20 most-cited articles were original research articles and perspectives. Compare this with the top 20 from the previous period, two-thirds of which were reviews. We interpret this shift to indicate that higher quality, original scientific research is the major driver of the improved impact factor. This is important because we want the journal to be seen as a destination for the best, most impactful original work in lipid research

In other positive developments, the amazing work of staff has given us the opportunity to establish a WeChat community in China. The staff also has assisted us in reaching out to leaders in lipid research in China through a special edition “Focus on China.”

We will continue to build links with the lipid research community in China in 2022 in acknowledgement of its emerging strengths in key lipid research areas. Authors from China accounted for 22% of submissions to the journal in 2020, and we predict continued growth in 2022 and beyond.

ASBMB staff also have coordinated our Twitter and social media presence, including four very popular Twitter takeovers by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from across the globe.

In conclusion, 2021 was a landmark year for the journal, and we are grateful to the lipid research community for their continued support. We look forward to working with you all in 2022.


At JBC, can open science follow open access?

By Alex Toker

One of the reasons I agreed to become editor-in-chief of JBC was our collective decision to make the journal gold open access.

2021 was the right time to make the transition, given the ever-changing face of the publication industry, the implementation of Plan S and the requirement by many funding agencies that their sponsored research be published in open-access journals.

To achieve gold open access, we partnered with commercial publisher Elsevier; however, it is important to recognize that JBC remains, at its core, a journal “for scientists, run by scientists.” Full editorial control of all manuscripts remains with the editors at JBC. In addition, JBC is one of the few journals that performs data-integrity analysis on the papers it publishes.

But what does the future hold? The implementation of open access raises an equally important aspect of science publishing in 2021 and beyond: open science.

The open-science movement has gained significant traction over the past decade. The basic tenets are that manuscripts and primary data, both negative and positive, should be deposited in publicly accessible repositories, free to all.

At JBC, large data sets — such as proteomics, RNAseq, functional genomics and structural data — already must be deposited into one of many public repositories as a condition of manuscript acceptance. But current JBC policy states that all primary data should be made available by authors only upon request.

If the journal’s primary goal is to disseminate science and foster a community of scientists working in all areas of cell and molecular biology and biochemistry, and in my opinion that is its primary goal, then our associate editors and editorial board members must confront the ideals of open science and determine the steps for making them a reality.

I am looking forward to discussing these matters with the JBC community in 2022.

This was adapted from Toker’s first editorial as JBC’s top editor. Read it in full at jbc.org

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Nicholas O. Davidson
Nicholas O. Davidson

Nicholas O. Davidson is the division chief of gastroenterology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and has been co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Lipid Research since January 2019.

Kerry-Anne Rye
Kerry-Anne Rye

Kerry-Anne Rye is a research professor, head of the Lipid Research Group and deputy head of research in the University of New South Wales School of Medical Sciences, co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Lipid Research and a 2021 ASBMB fellow.

Alex Toker
Alex Toker

Alex Toker is a professor and chief of the division of signal transduction in the departments of medicine and pathology and the cancer center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School as well as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and a 2022 ASBMB fellow.

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