The momentum towards open-access publishing has continued to build in the months since Journal of Biology was launched.
One of the unusual features of Journal of Biology is its commitment to publish each research article online as it is ready, and to assemble a print issue around as few or as many research articles as are available at one time. This print issue includes two research articles along with associated commentary, and this reflects a change in the pace at which suitable articles are being submitted to the journal - although we continue to decline tens of articles for every one that is accepted for publication, as befits a journal that aims to join the top rank.
Like all peer-reviewed research journals, this one can only select for publication from among the articles submitted to it. Given our aspiration to cover the full spectrum of biology, it is gratifying to note that the research articles published so far span a broad range of biological subjects. The first articles described genome-wide characteristics of gene expression (http://jbiol.com/content/1/1/5 webcite) and a chemical approach to studying cell signaling during development and disease (http://jbiol.com/content/1/2/10 webcite). Now, the articles in this issue describe the application of a new combination of biophysicial technologies to single-molecule measurements (http://jbiol.com/content/2/1/6 webcite) and new insights into the coordination of cell growth with cell division in mammalian cells (http://jbiol.com/content/2/1/7 webcite). In the forthcoming issues, which are now being prepared, readers can look forward to further diversity, and we hope that potential authors will continue to be reassured that we do intend to cover their favorite subject area.
A notable attribute of the second research article in this print issue is that the senior author is the journal's Editor-in-Chief, Martin Raff. There will be some readers who question the propriety of the Editor-in-Chief publishing in 'his own journal' - but in a classic double bind, if he chose instead to publish in another high-profile journal there would be those who doubted his commitment to Journal of Biology. We can only reassure the sceptics that the peer-review process was, as usual, stringent and anonymous, and that the journal's usual standards and practices were applied especially scrupulously to this article. We hope that others, whether formally associated with this journal or not, will follow the Editor-in-Chief's lead and submit their best work to this journal and so help promote open access as the preferred method of publishing in biology.
The momentum towards open-access publishing has continued to build in the months since Journal of Biology was launched. The high-profile group of scientists behind the Public Library of Science (http://www.plos.org/ webcite) plan to launch their own open-access journals later this year. In addition, announcements of support for the open-access publishing model have continued to pile up from around the world, from both funding agencies (see, for example, those listed at http://www.biomedcentral.com/info/about/apcfaq webcite) and individual institutions (see http://www.biomedcentral.com/inst/ webcite). Ever since the first circulation in 1999 of an idea from Harold Varmus for an NIH-funded public repository of open-access research articles, it has been clear that every author who chooses to publish their research in an open-access journal rather than one that charges a subscription fee is benefiting the community of interested researchers both immediately and in perpetuity. We urge you to bear these issues in mind when considering where to publish your next important piece of research.
Editor's note: The authors of the second research article in this print issue (http://jbiol.com/content/2/1/7 webcite) have both had close associations with Journal of Biology, and Martin Raff continues to do so. Neither author was involved in the refereeing of this article, in the decision to publish it, or in the choice of accompanying commentary.