JEB Editorials

2016 – Edit­or­i­al by Michael G. Ritchie

Dur­ing my four year spell as Edit­or in Chief of JEB, the most per­sist­ent ques­tions I have been asked have con­cerned double blind review­ing and oth­er issues around equal­ity of oppor­tun­it­ies. I am there­fore very pleased to announce that we are about to instig­ate double blind review­ing at JEB. As of Feb­ru­ary 2016, all papers will be reviewed anonym­ously, that is, review­ers will not know the iden­tity of the authors (as well as authors not know­ing the iden­tity of review­ers, unless this is waived). The JEB board of edit­ors and ESEB exec­ut­ive have dis­cussed the implic­a­tion of this sev­er­al times, and dif­fer­ent mod­els of blind review­ing. There is a healthy degree of scep­ti­cism about the mer­its or not of doing this (data is equi­voc­al) and a fre­quently raised com­ment is that review­ers can usu­ally guess the authors of papers. After delib­er­a­tion we have rejec­ted these cri­ti­cisms; often guesses about author­ship are wrong and even if one guesses the labor­at­ory cor­rectly, wheth­er the paper is by a prin­ciple invest­ig­at­or or an early career stage research­er is unknown (and a major source of poten­tial bias). We should embrace the bene­fits of double blind review­ing and avoid guess work! Most import­antly, to my mind, is the simple fact that many of our mem­bers wish to see this intro­duced. We are a soci­ety journ­al, and should be recept­ive to the pref­er­ences of our members.

The edit­or­i­al office and decid­ing edit­ors will con­tin­ue to know the source of manu­scripts. While not ideal, the appro­pri­ate hand­ling of papers (espe­cially assign­ing review­ers) makes blind review­ing at the edit­or­i­al stage almost unwork­able, so we will con­tin­ue with edit­ors know­ing authors’ iden­tit­ies. Edit­or­i­al rejec­tions are used very spar­ingly (cur­rently around 10% of art­icles sub­mit­ted) and only when we are con­fid­ent that the paper is not in JEB remit or very unlikely to sur­vive the review pro­cess for oth­er reasons.

These are very inter­est­ing times for pub­lish­ing with a whole range of pub­lish­ing and review­ing mod­els being pro­moted and adop­ted. As a soci­ety journ­al, I believe that the cur­rent mod­el of JEB is appro­pri­ate. We accept Open Access papers if authors or fun­ders request this, with reduced costs for soci­ety mem­bers. Our profit share from the journ­al is used to sup­port the soci­ety and mem­bers, help with con­gresses and all the out­reach and oth­er excel­lent ini­ti­at­ives run by ESEB.

Anoth­er major debate over the last few years has con­cerned data avail­ab­il­ity. We require data depos­ition for papers pub­lished in JEB and believe this is appro­pri­ate for our field. If appro­pri­ate, embar­gos are pos­sible, upon request. There are a whole raft of new sug­ges­tions being made to improve the repro­du­cib­il­ity of research, includ­ing pre-regis­tra­tion of research plans, and we can expect fur­ther changes in our typ­ic­al mod­els of pub­lish­ing over the next few years.

After dis­cus­sion with the ESEB Exec­ut­ive I have exten­ded my spell as Edit­or in Chief for a fur­ther two years, until 2017. I am extremely grate­ful to the Decid­ing Edit­ors & Reviews Edit­or, all mem­bers of the Board of Review­ing Edit­ors, our Man­aging Edit­or and oth­ers at the office in St Andrews, and all the staff at Wiley Black­well who have helped keep JEB per­form­ing well over the last few years. JEB is func­tion­ing well as a soci­ety journ­al, provid­ing a qual­ity pub­lish­ing out­let for our soci­ety mem­bers and the broad­er com­munity of Evol­u­tion­ary Biologists.

Mike Ritch­ie, St Andrews, Scotland

Down­load the 2016 Edit­or­i­al pdf file

2009 – Edit­or­i­al by Allen Moore

MOORE, A. J. (2010), WWDD? (What Would Dar­win Do?). Journ­al of Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy, 23: 1–5.
doi: 10.1111/j.1420–9101.2009.01879.x

Down­load the pdf file

2004 – Edit­or­i­al by Juha Merilä

Since its found­a­tion in 1987, the European Soci­ety for Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy (ESEB) has become an act­ive sci­entif­ic com­munity, with the latest con­gresses in Aar­hus and Leeds attract­ing more than 700 and 800 sci­ent­ists from all over the world, respect­ively. The num­ber of ESEB mem­bers has been grow­ing stead­ily over the years, with a remark­able 87% increase from 2002 (476) to 2003 (892).

The devel­op­ment of the ESEB has been intim­ately linked to the devel­op­ment of the society’s own journ­al – the Journ­al of Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy (JEB). The first volume of JEB was pub­lished in 1988 and it com­prised 372 prin­ted pages. The latest volume con­tained 1348 pages – an increase of 260% over a peri­od of 15 years. In 2004, JEB will increase fur­ther in size to 1500 pages. Not only has JEB grown in size over time, but it has also become firmly estab­lished as one of the major out­lets for evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy research on both sides of the Atlantic.

As for any journ­al keep­ing up with the times, import­ant devel­op­ments are con­tinu­ously imple­men­ted as the journ­al ages. One of the most recent and import­ant devel­op­ments of JEB is the Onlin­eEarly ser­vice that became avail­able in Septem­ber 2003. On Onlin­eEarly, all JEB art­icles will be pub­lished in elec­tron­ic format for read­ing and down­load­ing on the journ­al webpage as soon as the authors have returned the page proofs. This means a con­sid­er­able reduc­tion in sub­mis­sion-to-print times, and hence, bet­ter ser­vice to our authors and readers.

Anoth­er import­ant devel­op­ment to be imple­men­ted in the near future is the update of our elec­tron­ic edit­or­i­al office, Manu­script Cent­ral. A new improved ver­sion of this soft­ware will be going live in April 2004. This too will mean improved and more effi­cient ser­vices for authors and review­ers alike. It is also a wel­come devel­op­ment for the cur­rent edit­or­i­al team of JEB which is expect­ing to handle over 500 new sub­mis­sions this year (Fig. 1).
Des­pite the con­tinu­ous improve­ments and devel­op­ments at the pro­duc­tion end, JEB’s prime focus remains on pub­lish­ing high qual­ity papers import­ant for our under­stand­ing of the evol­u­tion­ary pro­cess. We spe­cific­ally wel­come con­tri­bu­tions that integ­rate dif­fer­ent approaches and meth­ods to address import­ant evol­u­tion­ary ques­tions. For any papers focused on import­ant evol­u­tion­ary prob­lems, we do not dis­crim­in­ate between hi- or low-tech papers, but we par­tic­u­larly wel­come papers incor­por­at­ing evol­u­tion­ary gen­om­ics and devel­op­ment­al approaches to evol­u­tion­ary prob­lems. Like­wise, while we wel­come both empir­ic­al and the­or­et­ic­al con­tri­bu­tions, we encour­age in par­tic­u­lar those com­bin­ing the two.

Hel­sinki 14.3.2004
Juha Mer­ilä,

2000 – Edit­or­i­al by Peter van Tienderen

Since its found­a­tion in 1987, the European Soci­ety for Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy has become an act­ive sci­entif­ic com­munity, with the latest con­gress in Bar­celona attract­ing more than 850 sci­ent­ists from all over the world. Evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy is indeed a lively and excit­ing field today. In part this is stim­u­lated by advances in molecu­lar and devel­op­ment­al bio­logy. Molecu­lar mark­er tech­niques are becom­ing more power­ful, less time con­sum­ing and cheap­er, facil­it­at­ing detailed research on selec­tion, mat­ing and pop­u­la­tion struc­ture, gene flow and biogeo­graphy. Sequence data is being used for phylo­gen­et­ic recon­struc­tion of the ori­gins of spe­cies and gene fam­il­ies, and stud­ies of the mech­an­isms behind evolving phen­o­typ­ic reac­tions. The increase in com­put­ing power allows us to ana­lyse more com­plex pat­terns and mod­el more com­plex processes.

Evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy is still about nat­ur­al and sexu­al selec­tion, about spe­ci­ation, about muta­tion and drift. Its laws are not neces­sar­ily dedu­cible from molecu­lar bio­logy. Nev­er­the­less, new devel­op­ments may cer­tainly allow us to say more about when cer­tain char­ac­ter­ist­ics have evolved, how many times, in what way the mech­an­isms dif­fer, and why some­thing evolved in some groups but not in oth­ers. Evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy is expec­ted to become stronger in its his­tor­ic­al and mech­an­ist­ic con­tent, and more detailed in its descrip­tion and ana­lys­is of the ongo­ing processes.

There­fore, the Journ­al of Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy spe­cific­ally wel­comes con­tri­bu­tions that con­nect know­ledge on devel­op­ment­al mech­an­isms and the his­tor­ic­al, phylo­gen­et­ic con­text to per­tin­ent evol­u­tion­ary issues. The journ­al will also pub­lish more (mini-)reviews, on top­ics in which remark­able new insights are gained (integ­rat­ive stud­ies, co-evol­u­tion, exper­i­ment­al evol­u­tion, molecu­lar and chem­ic­al evol­u­tion). How­ever, the journ­al’s prime focus is under­stand­ing the evol­u­tion­ary pro­cess by whatever meth­od appro­pri­ate, hi- or low-tech. Count­ing off­spring can­not eas­ily be auto­mated, and seems rather cent­ral to many evol­u­tion­ary problems.

We look for­ward to receiv­ing manu­scripts on your latest research on actu­al evol­u­tion­ary top­ics. Our mutu­al goal is to make the res­ults known to the world as best as pos­sible. Pub­lic­a­tion time is now around six months, thanks to the review­ing by a ded­ic­ated edit­or­i­al board and effi­cient edit­or­i­al and print­ing pro­ced­ures. The appeal­ing lay­out of the journ­al, a new pro­mo­tion cam­paign tar­geted spe­cific­ally at col­leagues work­ing the same field, and a bet­ter access­ib­il­ity of the Journ­al (e.g., through Black­well’s on-line Syn­ergy pro­gram) are the main keys to achieve this.

Peter van Tiender­en,

1987 – Edit­or­i­al by Steph­en C. Stearns

The argu­ments against new journ­als are many, and some are con­vin­cing. New journ­als often sig­nal the arrival of a new spe­cialty; their rate of ori­gin roughly meas­ures the rate of frag­ment­a­tion of sci­ence. New journ­als are expens­ive, and budgets, par­tic­u­larly lib­rary budgets, are lim­ited. Adding a new journ­al to a sub­scrip­tion list often means drop­ping an old one. Because the lit­er­at­ure is already too large and too frag­men­ted for any one per­son to be able to keep up to date, adding a new journ­al just makes an already bad situ­ation worse ‑it would be bet­ter to upgrade an exist­ing journ­al than to cre­ate a new one. And so forth.

Nev­er­the­less, with this issue a new journ­al is born, and the reas­ons for bring­ing it into exist­ence had bet­ter be good. They are. The Journ­al of Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy comes into being not to cre­ate a new spe­cialty, but to integ­rate a field. The oppor­tun­ity to estab­lish a new edit­or­i­al policy has been used to bring togeth­er a set of spe­cial- ties that have not pre­vi­ously shared a com­mon arena for dis­cus­sion. The sub­scrip­tion price is being held as low as eco­nom­ic pres­sures will allow. The Journ­al is the offi­cial pub­lic­a­tion of a new Soci­ety, the European Soci­ety for Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy. As such it expresses the interests of a large and diverse group of sci­ent­ists who had not pre­vi­ously shared a for­um. While the Soci­ety is European, the Journ­al is thor­oughly inter­na­tion­al, as the mem­ber­ship of the Edit­or­i­al Board demonstrates.

The Journ­al has the fol­low­ing aims: (1) To provide an inter­na­tion­al for­um for the integ­ra­tion of evol­u­tion­ary research. (2) To bring togeth­er in one journ­al the per­spect­ives of eco­logy, genet­ics, devel­op­ment, palae­on­to­logy, beha­vi­or­al eco­logy, sys­tem­at­ics, mor­pho­logy, and molecu­lar evol­u­tion. (3) To sup­port the growth of evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy in Europe through its asso­ci­ation with the European Soci­ety for Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy (ESEB).

The scope of the Journ­al is delib­er­ately broad. It will pub­lish work on both micro­e­volu­tion and mac­ro­e­volu­tion, on both proka­ryotes and euk­a­ryotes, on plants, anim­als, and oth­er organ­isms. Because the excite­ment of sci­ence arises when ideas con­front evid­ence in such a way that the ideas might have to change, the Journ­al will seek a bal­ance, even a ten­sion, between the­ory and data. The­or­ies with no hope of applic­a­tion are not for this journ­al, nor are data unin­formed by or without rel­ev­ance for gen­er­al ideas. To ful­fill its integ­rat­ive role, the Journ­al will give pref­er­ence to papers that bring togeth­er two or more fields, show­ing the rel­ev­ance, for example, of molecu­lar evol­u­tion for devel­op­ment, of devel­op­ment­al mech­an­isms for mac­ro­e­volu­tion­ary change, of quant­it­at­ive genet­ics for eco­logy, or of phylo­gen­et­ic sys­tem­at­ics for the inter­pret­a­tion of adapt­ive hypotheses.

Most art­icles will be ori­gin­al research papers, but the Journ­al will also pub­lish short­er notes, com­ments on pre­vi­ous art­icles, and book reviews. Thought­ful, integ­rat­ive essays and crit­ic­al reviews will be con­sidered if they are not too long. The edit­or­i­al policy is inclus­ive rather than exclus­ive – any inter­est­ing con­tri­bu­tion to evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy will be a can­did­ate for publication.

S. C. Ste­arns
Basel, 14 May 1987

Down­load the pdf file

Leave a Reply