{ C O N T E N T S }
Volume 9, Issue 2

President's Letter

Welcome to ISMB 2006!

Student Council Events

Mathieu Blanchette
Overton Prize

Michael Waterman
Senior Scientist
Accomplishment Award

One Year of
PLoS Computational Biology

PLoS CB Education Column
- Call for Contributions

BioLINK and BioCreAtIvE:
Linking Text to Biological Resources

ISCB Officer and Student
Council Leadership Elections

MentorNet News

Post your Events & News

Announcing ISMB/ECCB 2007

Premier 2006 Meetings

Student Travel Fellowships

Newsletter Cover Image Competition

News from the Field

Key Dates for Key Meetings

Bioinformatics Books
on ISCB Website

Upcoming Conferences
& Events




Copyright © 2006 International Society for Computational Biology.
All rights reserved.

One Year of PLoS Computational Biology

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) open access community journal Computational Biology is
published in partnership with the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). As this is written there have been twelve monthly issues of this new journal published. How is the journal doing and what does this mean to the Society?

While it is too early to formally assess the impact of the journal, it is worth reflecting on what has been achieved in the first year of publication. Twelve monthly issues actually reflects eighteen months of submissions, given that we have been considering papers since January of 2005. At the end of June 2006, 631 research articles have been submitted to the journal, 110 have been published and 64 (48 new submissions and 16 revisions) are currently under review. We estimate that our acceptance rate is currently around 30%, increasing in recent months from less than 20% as authors become more familiar with the expectations of the journal and do not submit papers that have little chance of being published. We are now publishing about 15 research articles per month. Accompanying these research articles over the year have been 3 editorials,
6 reviews, 5 perspectives, and the Education Section just published its first tutorial. From acceptance to publication is 5-6 weeks, although authors have the option of having their manuscripts posted as soon as they are accepted. Submissions have been received from 41 countries (based on the location of the corresponding author).

Interest in the journal can be gauged by the number of people who have signed up to receive an electronic alert of journal contents (eTOC) and by the number of downloads of journal articles. Currently 7,125 people are signed up to receive an eTOC, a number that grows by several hundred each month and since the launch, there has been a total of 262,268 articles download. Two of the top ten papers are in the area of neuroscience and two others form part of the on-going "Ten Rules" series of editorials to aid our less experienced readers. Of the Remainder, one is a perspective discussing team versus individual science and the rest are in the realm of computational molecular biology. Demographics of materials downloaded show North America and Europe account for 60-70% of the usage of the site, but there is significant usage from the developing world, a testament to open access.

Overall, we are well on the way to meeting the original editorial goal of the journal -- to establish a high-quality knowledge resource serving a community interested in advancing our understanding of living systems through the use of computational techniques. While reported advances have been predominantly at the molecular level, there is a growing body of work being submitted that covers different levels of biological organization. This reflects our goal to publish great work involving computational analyses at all biological scales. We want to make the connections between researchers who are using conceptually related approaches to tackle diverse issues in biology.

What does this first successful year mean to the Society? There is a healthy and growing relationship between the two organizations. A number of ISCB Directors are members of the journal's Editorial Board, Fran Lewitter, the journal's Education Editor, is part of the ISCB Education Committee which has led to, for example, solicitation of ISMB tutorials for publication by the journal. ISCB representatives, including the Chair of the ISCB Publications Committee, are invited to weekly PLoS teleconferences and PLoS reports to the ISCB on journal matters relating to the Society. One author of each accepted paper gets a free one year membership to the Society and hopefully will renew their membership in later years. Finally, articles about ISCB activities are a regular feature of the journal.

There is clearly great interest from other scientific communities in how the relationship between a scientific society and an open access journal develops. I am proud to report that after one year the relationship is strong and mutually beneficial. I am hopeful that next year I will be able to report that we have proven ourselves an exemplar and groundbreaker for such society-journal relationships. None of this would be possible with out highly dedicated staff in both organizations. I thank the staff at PLoS, notably Catherine Nancarrow and Emily Stevenson, and BJ Morrison McKay, the Executive Officer of ISCB for getting us this far. The rest is up to you. Please submit your best work and continue to make PLoS Computational Biology a showcase for our science.