Editorials

Can open science follow open access?

December 16, 2021--As I started mulling over contributing my first editorial since becoming the editor-in-chief for JBC on October 1st 2021, I kept coming back to the remarkable winds of change that have been blowing at the journal and the ASBMB during the past year. I am a firm believer that change is good—it can be a driving force for forward progress—and in this regard, JBC has truly excelled. Under the brilliant guidance of the former editor-in-chief, Prof. Lila Gierasch and the ASBMB leadership, JBC has gone fully gold open access as of January 1, 2021. Read more...

Reflecting on an incredible journey with JBC

July 01, 2021--Five years ago, I described the exciting circumstances that encouraged me to take on the role of Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC): the new opportunities offered by the shifting landscape of scientific publishing, the stunning progress happening across science but particularly in those areas central to JBC, and the enduring foundation of the journal itself, built on over a century of thoughtful and respectful stewardship. Read more...

Welcome to a new year and a new OPEN ACCESS JBC!

January 1, 2021--We turn the calendar from 2020 to 2021 with great shared relief … what a year! Despite the many disruptions, we have not been sitting still at JBC. With a trumpet fanfare, we want to celebrate with you the momentous occasion of JBC (and its sister ASBMB publications JLR and MCP) becoming gold open access! Your work in JBC can now, as of 2021, be accessed, read, and appreciated by readers all over the globe with no obstacles. Moreover, we’ve made our 115-year archive free to read—all of it. This is big. Read more...

We mark the passing of two giants of JBC

October 30, 2020--JBC had editors-in-chief before Herbert Tabor, and others, like myself, will follow. But no one will ever match the incredible impact and melding of identity between the journal and the editor achieved by Tabor. Read more...

2021 JBC Herbert Tabor Early Career Investigator Awards: Call for nominations

September 25, 2020--One of our favorite times of the year has arrived: starting the process of selecting this year's JBC Herbert Tabor Early Career Investigator (JHTECI) Awardees. It's a favorite time because we love combing through all of the great science published in JBC in the past year, identifying the rising stars in biological chemistry worldwide, and reminding ourselves of the exciting new insights and advances that we've gotten to play a part in sharing with the scientific community. It is inspiring to learn about the creative strategies and amazing techniques that our authors employed to tackle their topics. And it's fun to dig through the citations, downloads, and altmetrics data to discover papers that our readers have especially appreciated. Read more...

In JBC we trust

September 18, 2020--Peer Review Week (September 21–25 this year) serves as an annual reminder to thank referees for their service to the scientific community. We hope we express our appreciation and acknowledge in an ongoing way the central role of peer review in science publishing, but we will take this annual reminder to say “THANK YOU” to JBC's Editorial Board Members (EBMs) and to the other reviewers who help us maintain the quality and reliability of JBC's content. Read more...

Opening ASBMB publications freely to all

May 29, 2020--We are extremely excited to announce on behalf of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) that the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), Molecular & Cellular Proteomics (MCP), and the Journal of Lipid Research (JLR) will be published as fully open-access journals beginning in January 2021. This is a landmark decision that will have huge impact for readers and authors. As many of you know, many researchers have called for journals to become open access to facilitate scientific progress, and many funding agencies across the globe are either already requiring or considering a requirement that all scientific publications based on research they support be published in open-access journals. The ASBMB journals have long supported open access, making the accepted author versions of manuscripts immediately and permanently available, allowing authors to opt in to the immediate open publication of the final version of their paper, and endorsing the goals of the larger open-access movement (1). However, we are no longer satisfied with these measures. To live up to our goals as a scientific society, we want to freely distribute the scientific advances published in JBC, MCP, and JLR as widely and quickly as possible to support the scientific community. How better can we facilitate the dissemination of new information than to make our scientific content freely open to all? Read more...

Wish you were here: Meetings, no meetings, meeting reports

April 17, 2020--We've all been saying it: These are unprecedented times. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are incredibly wide-ranging and affect all facets of life. One that is hitting the scientific community very hard is the cancellation of meetings, large and small. While we are well-versed in connecting with colleagues and collaborators across a variety of online platforms, these do not replace the immensely gratifying aspects of attending meetings in person: the pleasure of catching up with old friends and making new ones, the insights gained from having real-time conversations with others working on the same topic but with different expertise and perspectives, and the stimulating new scientific ideas we carry home. We have all been feeling the disappointment as we learn that one meeting after another is forced to cancel, from the vibrant ASBMB annual meeting to summer conferences of all types. Read more...

The Data Must Be Accessible to All

February 18, 2020--Science relies on data acquisition via well-described, rigorous, reproducible procedures; statistically defensible interpretation of these data; and transparent reporting of the interpretations and conclusions reached based on these data. Each of these steps must be communicated to the broader scientific community in such a way that others can critically evaluate the studies, draw conclusions based on the reported findings, design subsequent experiments, and replicate and extend those observations. The only way this is possible is through full disclosure of data so that they are readily accessible to readers. Journals must assume responsibility for ensuring that those data are made available and that the mechanism to access the data be cited in the same way that previous literature reports are cited. The publications of ASBMB (Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Lipid Research, and Molecular and Cellular Proteomics) are joining a number of sister publications in adopting policy requirements that ensure these goals are met for all of our content. Read more...

Faster publication advances your science: The three R's

January 10, 2020--The three R's of publishing are not “reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic,” but “rapid, rigorous review.” Researchers need to communicate their findings to one another as rapidly as possible to move science forward. Preprints achieve this, and we endorse their use. But the general consensus in biosciences is that rigorous peer review improves the quality, clarity, and reproducibility of scientific research findings. The irrefutable conclusion is that journals should do their utmost to facilitate quality peer review with the fastest timeline possible. JBC is not only committed to doing this, but is doing it. And after listening to many colleagues discuss their publication experiences at other journals, it's clear that JBC's rapid manuscript turnaround puts it at the top of the pack. How is this achieved? Read more...

Celebrating and cultivating excellent peer review at JBC

September 13, 2019--We are living through a transformational time in scientific publishing, with lively and healthy discussions of mechanisms for improved transparency in review, increased emphasis on pre- and post-publication consultation about papers, and high pressure for rigor and rapidity in publishing. We are surrounded by a myriad of devices, apps, and tools to facilitate these exchanges. And yet, at least for now, scientists still primarily communicate their results through scholarly publications that have been rigorously evaluated by their colleagues in a tried and true peer review system that we revere and defend. Indeed, peer review is the cornerstone of the trust we place in each other, enabling us to be inspired by and build on the literature to achieve ever greater advances and insights. Impressively, peer review relies on selfless dedication of time and effort by the scientific community, primarily based on the shared belief that peer review is an essential service to the community to maintain quality in the published literature. There are also additional benefits: Peer review provides a mechanism for feedback and mentorship and an opportunity to use one's critical mind to digest and assess new science. But the bottom line is that scientists generously give of their time to enable our scientific structure to stand on a firm foundation. We take this opportunity to heartily thank all of our reviewers for the time they have donated to JBC to allow us to proceed with confidence that our published papers will engage the community and stand the test of time. Read more...

2020 Herbert Tabor Early Career Investigator Awards: Call for nominations

September 6, 2019--JBC is proudly committed to recognizing the next generation of scientists and celebrating their research contributions, including by bestowing Herbert Tabor Early Career Investigator Awards. These awards highlight work from early career scientists published in JBC during the preceding year. Five of each year's top papers are selected by a committee of JBC Associate Editors, and the awardees present their work at a dedicated Spotlight Session at the annual ASBMB meeting. The past Herbert Tabor Awardee sessions have been amazing—as inspiring and fascinating as any of the sessions featuring more established researchers—and we hope that this experience in turn stimulates and inspires the awardees as they progress through their careers. Read more...

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 01, 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. We created a new content type, “ASBMB Award Articles,” authored by the outstanding scientists who were selected to receive awards from ASBMB. And, we have had the joy of celebrating the centennial birthday of Herbert Tabor, 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 [email protected]. 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...

3D Images in PDFs!

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

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....