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In JBC we trust

Open AccessPublished:September 18, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.E120.015811
      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.
      The theme of this year's Peer Review Week—Trust in Peer Review (

      https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2020/04/09/in-peer-review-week-we-trust/.

      )—hits especially close to home for those of us involved in JBC. When I began my appointment as Editor-in-Chief, we gathered input from authors and other scientists in the field as to what they thought about JBC. What are the strengths and weaknesses? How do they think JBC fits into the scientific publishing ecosystem? What do they most appreciate about engaging with JBC? The clear message we heard time and again was that researchers knew they could count on JBC to publish solid science that stands the test of time and that JBC was a journal they could trust.
      We also sought input from our EBMs, who bear the largest burden in reviewing papers submitted to JBC. EBMs thus play a critical role in maintaining consistency and high standards in our review process and, as a consequence, in building the trust that our authors had described. We already knew that we trusted this group to steward the contents of the journal. However, we had not fully realized the extent to which the EBMs have internalized that responsibility: they are not just ready to review when called; instead, they are our full partners—providing valuable advice and suggestions about how the journal might better serve the community, drawing our attention to emerging issues and points of confusion in their fields, and continuing to perform their fundamental role of reviewing papers with care (
      • Gierasch L.M.
      Celebrating and cultivating excellent peer review at JBC.
      ). Their participation and engagement during the past four years has impressed me tremendously; my trust in the JBC endeavor writ large has grown and continues to expand as I witness the EBMs' efforts to help nurture the journal toward an ever brighter future.
      Let me remark on JBC's commitment to continue to earn the trust of authors and readers. JBC is embarking on a major transition into an open access future. This is so exciting! In doing so, JBC will be embracing changes, for example working with a new publishing partner external to our parent Society, ASBMB (
      • Gierasch L.M.
      • Davidson N.O.
      • Rye K.-A.
      • Burlingame A.L.
      Opening ASBMB publications freely to all.
      ). Logistically, this means a new submission platform, new website, and more. BUT all editorial oversight will remain as it has been, including the role of the EBMs who perform the lion's share of JBC manuscript reviewing. This team will continue to work with the Associate Editors you have come to know. And the review process and the quality standards for submitted manuscripts will not change. In navigating the transition to open access, we vowed not to shake the trust that scientists have for JBC editorial process, which has been earned over many decades.
      Thinking about JBC and its commitment to high-quality science that stands the test of time leads us to mark a sad moment and to commemorate a JBC icon: long-serving JBC Editor-in-Chief Herbert Tabor last month passed away at the age of 101 (

      https://www.asbmb.org/asbmb-today/people/082120/herbert-tabor-1918-2020.

      ). In large measure, Herb Tabor should be credited with building the trust in JBC's editorial process that we so value now. We can imagine no more fitting tribute to his legacy than to continue to maintain and build the community's trust in JBC. We commit to publishing rigorous, reproducible research with fair and transparent review. Several initiatives started in the past four years reflect this commitment and how we're working to achieve it: analyzing the images of all papers prior to publication to catch errors before they're in the literature (
      • McCormick C.D.
      • Sakabe K.
      Ensuring the quality of data published in JBC is a team effort.
      ), creating new journal policies to more permanently capture data relevant to each paper (
      • Gierasch L.M.
      • Davidson N.O.
      • Rye K.-A.
      • Burlingame A.L.
      The data must be accessible to all.
      ), publishing clear descriptions of Withdrawals and Retractions (
      • Guengerich F.P.
      Some changes in submission and handling policies at the JBC.
      ), and developing a web resource for best practices in scientific research and publishing (

      http://jbcresources.asbmb.org/.

      ). Each of these changes adds to the confidence we have in our final published content, but they would be meaningless without knowing that these papers have been carefully evaluated for their scientific content through peer review carried out by our EBMs and other referees. A very sincere thanks to them.

      References

      1. https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2020/04/09/in-peer-review-week-we-trust/.

        • Gierasch L.M.
        Celebrating and cultivating excellent peer review at JBC.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294 (31519762): 13850-13851
        • Gierasch L.M.
        • Davidson N.O.
        • Rye K.-A.
        • Burlingame A.L.
        Opening ASBMB publications freely to all.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2020; 295 (32398260): 7814-7815
      2. https://www.asbmb.org/asbmb-today/people/082120/herbert-tabor-1918-2020.

        • McCormick C.D.
        • Sakabe K.
        Ensuring the quality of data published in JBC is a team effort.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294 (30902919): 4723-4724
        • Gierasch L.M.
        • Davidson N.O.
        • Rye K.-A.
        • Burlingame A.L.
        The data must be accessible to all.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2020; 295 (32071082): 4371
        • Guengerich F.P.
        Some changes in submission and handling policies at the JBC.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2015; 290 (26567297): 28018-28019
      3. http://jbcresources.asbmb.org/.