JBC Editorials

Ensuring the quality of data published in JBC is a team effort

March 22, 2019--Publishing a research article is a multi-stage endeavor. Most researchers are aware of the early stages when they identify an important question in their scientific field, design experiments and methods to address the question, gather data, develop interpretations, and write up their findings for publication. The next stage is quite familiar too: A review process unfolds once a paper is submitted with a goal of assessing the quality of the experiments and determining if the conclusions are compelling. But, there are later stages that are crucial to the publication workflow at JBC! We want the content of JBC to meet the highest standards of data quality. Consequently, we invest a great deal of time and energy to ensure that readers can trust the results reported in JBC. We are writing this editorial to describe these later and less familiar stages in the manuscript-handling process at JBC and to de-mystify the steps we take post-review to quality control our published content. Read more...

Celebrating science's next generation

March 1, 2019--Drum roll, please … It's time to announce the 2019 group of Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Awardees! Devoted readers of our editorials will know that we recently decided to refocus these awards on the first authors of some of the best work appearing in JBC, and we were thrilled to honor the first group of these rising stars in writing and in person at last year's ASBMB annual meeting. This past fall, we again asked for your help in identifying the most exciting and influential papers published in JBC in 2018 to make sure we were not overlooking any potential awardees. We are so grateful for the many of you who took the time to share your thoughts, both for the specific suggestions made and for the continued demonstration that the biological chemistry community values the contributions of and ideas brewing in this new generation of scientists. Read more...

For the sake of science

February 13, 2019--The world of scientific publishing has been invigorated and challenged by a variety of new proposals and initiatives over the past few years. With each new model for the publishing process, there have been opportunities to reimagine the future of research articles and journals. However, without a deadline for when the future begins, systematic change has been slow in coming. Read more...

Introducing JBC Reviews

January 4, 2019--It's hard to believe another year has flown by. For us, we have reveled in the wonderful science appearing in the pages of our journal throughout the year. We also were able to celebrate several accomplishments of the JBC and ASBMB family: We honored our first crop of Herb Tabor Young Investigators whose papers embody the highest quality of JBC's content, and these emerging scientists were given the podium at the ASBMB Annual Meeting to showcase their work (1). We created a new content type, “ASBMB Award Articles,” authored by the outstanding scientists who were selected to receive awards from ASBMB (2). And, we have had the joy of celebrating the centennial birthday of Herbert Tabor (3), who piloted JBC as Editor-in-Chief for four decades and spearheaded its transition to fully digital, well ahead of most of its peer journals. How farsighted! And, we will keep celebrating Herb Tabor's career by publishing a set of articles in early 2019 that exemplify his influence on the science of JBC. Read more...

Happy centennial birthday to Herb Tabor, pillar of JBC

November 30, 2018--Herbert Tabor first began his relationship with the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) in 1943 when, at the age of 25, he published a first-author paper with A. Baird Hastings entitled: “The ionization constant of secondary magnesium phosphate.” For those who like numbers, this was 75 years ago, and the paper has received 59 citations. In 1961, having published several more papers in JBC, Tabor was asked to join the Editorial Board. His quiet, constructive, cut-to-the-chase style led him in seven short years to become an Associate Editor; he then moved remarkably quickly, due to the ill health of then Editor-in-Chief William Stein, to the role of Acting Editor and then Editor-in-Chief. Tabor held this position for more than 40 years. We doubt anyone would have been able to predict that he would stay in this role for so long, but the confidence-inspiring, insightful, and visionary leadership that he offered, combined with extremely effective people-management skills and scientific standards that are truly top-notch, garnered him such respect that he in essence became the soul of JBC. When, after more than four decades at the helm, Tabor decided to pass on the Editor-in-Chief duties, he was not ready to hang up his JBC spurs. So, Tabor has continued to the present as Co-Editor, assigning manuscripts to Associate Editors and providing sage advice on the journal. Read more...

2019 Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Awards: Call for nominations

September 14, 2018--Recently, we announced an exciting change in our Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Awards program. Previously, these awards were given to young scientists for exemplary posters or talks at scientific meetings attended by JBC Associate Editors. Last year, we decided to focus instead on recognizing the first authors of outstanding papers published in JBC, with awards targeted to young investigators (including graduate students, postdoctoral scientists, and early stage junior faculty), whose work was published in JBC during 2017. A committee of JBC's Associate Editors selected five top papers, and the awardees (three postdoctoral associates and two graduate students) presented their work at a dedicated Spotlight Session at the annual ASBMB meeting in San Diego in April 2018 (2). What a passionate and thoughtful group! We loved meeting the awardees and learning about their research and their careers thus far and hope that this award will stimulate more success in their future. Read more...

Looking back at the last two years: Coming home to JBC

July 13, 2018--When I was approached about putting my name in the hat for the Editor-in-Chief position at JBC, a mini-tsunami of thoughts splashed through my brain. First and foremost: Why in heck would I do that? Mulling that question over led to some clarity about why I might take this position and a growing sense of anticipated pleasure at the prospect of making some small contribution to the future vigor of a society journal that I valued in the deepest part of my core. Mind you, I had not been publishing frequently in JBC in the years prior to this introspective moment. In fact, this was presented to me as a key question by the Search Committee. In answering this question, I gained insight into the challenges that journals like JBC face in the current scientific publishing climate, and what considerations come into play as prospective authors decide where to publish. PIs see a staggering array of choices before them when they prepare a submission. The junior colleagues whose careers we are fostering believe, right or wrong, that their future may be determined by their record of publishing in “high impact” journals, especially the three big single-word journals. Truth be told, most senior scientists also live under the threat, real or not, of success or failure based on “high impact” publications. Read more...

Biological chemistry without borders

June 1, 2018--We want to express our appreciation to all authors, reviewers, and editorial board members from across the globe who serve the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC). Their involvement and loyalty make JBC a truly international journal. JBC was founded by John J. Abel and Christian A. Herter in 1905. Within three years, JBC published its first paper from a foreign author, Harald Lundén of the Nobel Institution in Sweden. Seminal papers from non-U. S. authors that encompass the entire scope of the journal have been published in JBC ever since. For example, the papers that provided the foundation for my research field, those on the discovery of cytochrome P450, were published in JBC by scientists from Osaka University. The first purifications of the glycine and GABA receptors were reported by scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry and Imperial College, respectively. The discovery of protein kinase C was reported in JBC by Nishizuka's group at the Kobe University School of Medicine. Read more...

A new journal from ASBMB

April 20, 2018--If you have been reading my editorials, you'll know that I took on the position of Editor-in-Chief of JBC in July 2016 during a time of “massive change” and “shifting landscapes” in scientific publishing. My goals were to preserve the strengths of this venerable journal while anticipating the coming needs of the scientific community and how a scientific publication like JBC must evolve to serve them. We at JBC have approached these goals with an open mind about what's best for the future of JBC and, more broadly, science publishing. Today, I'm thrilled to announce an important milestone in this process: We have decided to launch a new journal! Read more...

The Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Awards: Meet the awardees!

March 2, 2018--Last year we told you about an exciting update at JBC: We reinvented our Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Awards to focus on those young scientists who are contributing the best papers to the journal. Our thinking was that this change would continue to recognize outstanding upcoming researchers, while more directly linking to our goal of mentoring the next generation, through the constructive feedback provided during the review process, and making a home for them at JBC, the ASBMB Annual Meeting, and beyond. Read more...

JBC's New Year's resolutions: Check them off!

December 29, 2017--'Tis the season to make resolutions for the upcoming year and to look back at the plans made for the year we are ringing out. Our central goal, regardless of year, is to enhance JBC's ability to advance biological chemistry, writ large. So let's see how this goal maps onto our New Year's resolutions, past and future. And while this season is upon us, we invite you—the readers and authors who rely on JBC—to propose additional resolutions. If you do not see that we have identified enhancements needed to our journal, let us know at jbc{at}asbmb.org. We will listen! Read more...

The Herbert Tabor Best Paper Awards: Celebrating young authors who contribute top content to JBC

October 13, 2017--The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) wants to showcase top papers and rising stars. For several years, we have honored the long-time editor-in-chief of JBC, Herbert Tabor, by bestowing Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Awards on selected early-career–stage presenters at small topic–focused scientific meetings. Now we would like to celebrate and recognize the broad content of JBC as well as the deep talent pool of early investigators who publish their work in the journal. Consequently, the Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Awards have been reinvented to focus on publications in JBC. Each year, a committee of associate editors will select a small number of topically diverse papers representing the best published articles of that year. The lead junior authors of these papers will be honored and receive their awards at the Annual Meeting of the ASBMB in April, where they will also present an invited short talk about their work. Read more...

On the costs of scientific publishing

September 29, 2017--Just over a year ago, I assumed the position of Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC). It has been an exciting and rewarding year: We promised to take a close look at JBC's policies and practices to remove pain points for authors and to improve the readability and discoverability of journal content for readers. We engaged the journal leadership and the community of biological chemists at large in order to learn what JBC is doing well and what needs attention. We forged partnerships and made connections with groups at the forefront of scientific publishing to strengthen our vantage point for future innovations. All told, we feel that we made many improvements in the course of a year. Most importantly, we feel that we have enriched the ability of JBC both to serve its authors and readers and to facilitate scientific progress, all in partnership with our parent society, the nonprofit American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). Read more...

ASBMB and JBC: A truly synergistic relationship

June 9, 2017--I recently returned from the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB); it was superb and I greatly enjoyed the top-notch science and the stimulating interactions with colleagues. Yet there was much more: For the first time at an ASBMB annual meeting, I wore the hat of editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), the flagship journal of the society. In addition, at the ASBMB meeting we kicked off a campaign to put JBC in the minds and eyes of the biological chemistry community. Moreover, I represented JBC at many meetings of the ASBMB leadership—where the future course of the society was discussed and the best ways to serve the membership and the field were deliberated at length. In these meetings and then in many, many conversations with colleagues between the scientific sessions, I found myself having one conversation over and over. The more I had this conversation, the more it crystallized a message that I've been wishing to articulate for some time, which is, simply stated: ASBMB and JBC have a shared goal of advancing science, and ASBMB and JBC tackle this goal synergistically. Read more...

JBC is on a mission to facilitate scientific discovery

April 21, 2017--The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) seeks to understand the challenges facing scientists today and to learn how JBC might best serve its authors and readers. We are proud that JBC builds on a 110-year legacy of publication in biological chemistry—defined to be science focused on the molecular underpinnings of life processes. But are we doing the best job we can today at assessing and communicating scientific findings and are we preparing ourselves for the future of scientific publishing? Read more...

What Happens When You Submit a Paper to JBC?

January 20, 2017--A great deal rides on the outcome of a paper submission: The path of science may be significantly impacted by publication of a paper, the careers of scientists are influenced by publication records, and funding decisions can be affected by papers published. Yet authors, particularly new authors, may lack an understanding of the editorial process their papers enter upon submission. Our goal in this editorial is to de-mystify the editorial process at the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC). Read more...

A Loyal Friend of ASBMB and JBC: Howard Schachman, 1918–2016

September 9, 2016--On August 5, 2016, Howard Kapnek Schachman died. Science lost a giant, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) lost one of their own. Passionately committed to rigorous science and enlightened science policy, Schachman will be eulogized by many in the next weeks, and the details of his life will be presented in full obituaries. Here, I wanted to take the Editor's pulpit to pay homage to Howard Schachman's deep linkages to ASBMB and in particular to the JBC. Read more...

What's in a Name?

August 26, 2016--When one assumes the editorship of a big journal like JBC, there are a lot of questions worth thinking about. One of the more basic questions I've been pondering relates to the journal title. The Journal of Biological Chemistry was founded in 1905, more than 110 years ago, and while the journal has witnessed and reported on stupendous progress in the molecular and cellular basis of biological processes, its name has remained the same. This is remarkable longevity for a journal title in a field that moves rapidly. Is there any need for a tune-up? Does the term “biological chemistry” continue to mean something to scientists? Do people even expand the abbreviation “JBC” into individual words anymore? Do people draw a distinction between chemical biology, biochemistry, and biological chemistry? Most importantly, does its name make it clear to researchers whether their science is welcome at JBC? Read more...

The Journal of Biological Chemistry: 2016 Onward

July 1, 2016--Scientific publishing has undergone massive change in the past two decades, and the landscape is shifting. The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) must respond to this changing landscape, weighing what to preserve, what to emphasize, and how to be the best journal for a broad authorship/readership from across the globe. Simultaneously, we are witnessing truly stunning scientific advances and discoveries related to the fundamental molecular mechanisms of life processes. Given its scientific coverage, the JBC has unprecedented opportunities to play a central role in life sciences publishing. It is this exciting combination of challenges and opportunities that led me to join the JBC team as Editor-in-Chief. Read more...

Transparency Is the Key to Quality

Dec. 11, 2015--Over the past year, the JBC Associate Editors have been working to make sure that JBC reviewing editors, and ultimately our readers, have the information they need from authors for rigorous evaluation of the scientific content of JBC manuscripts. This effort has led to extensive revisions of our Instructions for Authors for reporting experimental uncertainty, animal studies, biological materials, immunoblot data, and imaging results.Read more...

Some Changes in Submission and Handling Policies at the JBC

Nov. 13, 2015--One of my goals as interim editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biological Chemistry has been to make it easier for authors to submit manuscripts—without sacrificing manuscript quality. A second goal has been to communicate with the Journal's authors and users more frequently and more meaningfully. With those goals in mind, over the past few months, the associate editors and I have developed a handful of new policies, which I'll describe here. Read more...

Validating Macromolecular Structures

Dec. 14, 2011--Over the past decade, the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) has become an important medium for reporting macromolecular structures determined by crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance, and cryoelectron microscopy. In 2010, the JBC had the largest number of primary citations, 645, for structures deposited in the Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB; www.wwpdb.org). Read more...

Introducing JBC "Capsules"

July 20, 2011--This week, the Journal of Biological Chemistry will roll out a new feature aimed at providing readers with succinct snapshots of the latest papers being published and with explanations of how those papers significantly advance our understanding of biological processes. Read more...

A Call for Papers

Jan. 8, 2010--In view of the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of biological research, we now are broadening our interpretation of "mechanism" to mean "the molecular processes through which biological functions are carried out." Read more...

JBC Unveils Online Makeover

Sept. 15, 2009--The JBC announces its new site-wide redesign and other recent additions to the journal site. Read more..

3D Images in PDFs!

Dec. 19, 2008--The JBC now accepts3D images in PDFs as supplemental material. Read more...

Two Important Changes and a Reminder for Authors of ASBMB Publications: JBC, MCP and JLR

May 20, 2008--This message from publication manager for the JBC and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's other journals contains important information for authors on Papers in Press, NIH employees, and Author's Choice publication. Read more...

JBC on Journal Ranking

Aug. 20, 2007--Associate Editors Vincent C. Hascall and Richard W. Hanson comment on the status of journals and the impact of the impact factor. Read more...

Impact Factor Page Rankled (pdf)

July 27, 2007--Originally published in the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's monthly publication ASBMB Today, this editorial compares Google's PageRank and the ISI's Impact Factor. Read more...

Photoshop: Friend or Fraud?

Feb. 15, 2007--A discussion of the JBC's policy on publishing images altered with the program Adobe Photoshop. Read more....

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