Turning the Digital Page at ChemBioChem


  • Peter Gölitz,

  • Meghan Campbell


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Chemical biology has been in the spotlight for numerous reasons lately. ChemBioChem has had a productive year at the forefront of these advances and is looking forward to many changes in 2014. Advances in digital publishing promise to increase the visibility and functionality of ChemBioChem for our worldwide readership.


The start of a new year allows us to look back and reflect on what has been a productive year at ChemBioChem. While we continue to be a home to the traditional chemical biology communities of natural products, biosynthesis, and bioimaging, we also continue to grow into new areas such as bio-nanotechnology and synthetic biology. Looking at the mostaccessed articles from ChemBioChem for the past year (Table 1) reveals some interesting trends. They are primarily original research articles, showing that the journal is at the forefront of these fields for disseminating new data quickly. This trend runs contrary to the commonly held belief that reviews generate the most citations/downloads, and encourages us to focus on publishing important breakthroughs and useful methods for chemical biologists. We are grateful for the confidence that authors have in our ability to reach their peers with their latest original research.

Table 1. Most-accessed articles of 2013 at ChemBioChem for January– October 2013.






Using a Fragment-Based Approach To Target Protein–Protein Interactions

M. Hyvönen

Full Paper

Molecular Diversity Sculpted by Fungal PKS–NRPS Hybrids

C. Hertweck


A Highly Efficient Molecular Cloning Platform that Utilises a Small Bacterial Toxin Gene

Y. Li

Full Paper

FRET-Capture: A Sensitive Method for the Detection of Dynamic Protein Interactions

B. Imperiali


Fluorescent Amino Acids: Modular Building Blocks for the Assembly of New Tools for Chemical Biology

B. Imperiali


A Synthetic, Species-Specific Activator of Secondary Metabolism and Sporulation in Streptomyces coelicolor

J. R. Nodwell

Full Paper

A Label-Free, Quantitative Assay of Amyloid Fibril Growth Based on Intrinsic Fluorescence

D. Pinotsi, C. F. Kaminiski

Full Paper

Comparison of Splicing Factor 3b Inhibitors in Human Cells

K. Koide


Fluorescent Probes for G-Quadruplex Structures

N. W. Luedtke


Macrocyclization of Organo-Peptide Hybrids through a Dual Bio-orthogonal Ligation: Insights from Structure–Reactivity Studies

R. Fasan

Full Paper

However, we have had some excellent reviews this year, led off by one on the diverse products of fungal PKS-NRPS hybrids by Christian Hertweck (DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201200624) in Issue 1. Another important review came from ChemBioChem Editorial Board chair, Barbara Imperiali (DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201300079) on fluorescent amino acids, which has been highly accessed as well.

It is interesting to see the persistence of reviews at ChemBioChem. Two of the most-accessed papers in the past year are a review by T. Klabunde and G. Hessler from 2002 (“Drug Design Strategies for Targeting G-Protein-Coupled Receptors”; DOI: 10.1002/1439-7633(20021004)) and a Minireview by H.-J. Böhm et al. from 2004 (“Fluorine in Medicinal Chemistry”; DOI: 10.1002/cbic.200301023). The fact that these papers are still relevant to researchers approximately a decade after their publication shows that they have made a major impact in their fields that goes beyond the metrics of the “impact factor”. These are the types of articles we strive to publish.

Chemical biology, once again, featured prominently in the recently awarded Nobel Prizes for both Physiology or Medicine and for Chemistry. The Physiology or Medicine Nobel awarded to James Rothman, Randy Schekman, and Thomas Südhof highlighted the importance of membrane and vesicle fusion for understanding human cell biology. This award was recently highlighted by K. Baccia in Angewandte Chemie (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201308937). Based on the work of these three pioneers, chemical biologists and biophysicists today are studying membrane and vesicle fusion for a wide range of applications from drug delivery to creating synthetic life. One example of how this information has served chemical biologists is the use of liposomes to study the function of membrane proteins (see D. Baigl et al.; DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201300501).

In addition, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to a ChemBioChem author, Ariel Warshel (DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201100600), along with Martin Karplus and Michael Levitt. Their fundamental contributions to the field of computer simulations of complex biomolecules have been invaluable to chemical biologists for many years. This groundbreaking work has led to a better understanding of protein–protein interactions, an area that continues to interest medicinal chemists as the next frontier in drug development. Evidence of this can be found in the most-accessed article of the past year for ChemBioChem, which is a Full Paper by M. Hyvönen and co-workers (DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201200521) on the use of a fragment-based approach to modeling protein–protein interactions for drug design.

Although ChemBioChem is based in Europe and published on behalf of the European chemical societies through ChemPubSoc Europe, it is regarded by chemical biologists as an international journal. This is evident from the distribution of submissions to ChemBioChem from around the world. Figure 1 shows a breakdown of submissions by country from 2013. The largest number of contributions has come, once again, from the United States and Germany, but there were also significant numbers from China and Japan, showing the span of ChemBioChem around the globe.

Figure 1.

Geographical distribution of submissions to ChemBioChem

The editors of ChemBioChem have had a busy year of travel to connect with authors from throughout the world. Conferences on topics as diverse as chemical protein synthesis, bioorganic chemistry, peptidomimetics, and synthetic life have helped us stay up-to-date with the latest research in these areas. Also, we are always grateful for the opportunity that conferences present to talk with authors, get feedback on the journal and refereeing process, and educate young scientists about the editorial/publishing process.

It was our privilege this past year to help honor one of the greats of biomolecular NMR spectroscopy, Professor Ivano Bertini, with a special issue of ChemBioChem. Bertini was a tremendous asset to the NMR community and a true pioneer in the field of bioinorganic chemistry, as well as a dedicated Editorial Advisory Board member for ChemBioChem from the beginning. The response to invitations for the special issue was overwhelming, and it was quickly filled with a wide range of topics in biomolecular spectroscopy. This area of research is not always the most prominent in ChemBioChem, so it was nice to highlight this field and emphasize the important contribution that spectroscopy makes to our understanding of biochemical systems.

In 2013, our three Editorial Advisory Board Chairs have remained the same, along with our 71 board members, giving continuity to the year. We want to extend our sincere thanks to all of them for their continuing help at ChemBioChem and look forward to another productive year ahead. There have been some changes this past year in the editorial staff for the journal. We have recently said goodbye to Deputy Editor Dr. Adrian Neal. Following three years of dedicated work at ChemBioChem, we thank Adrian for all that he achieved at the journal and his enthusiasm for constantly improving ChemBioChem. Taking over from Adrian, is Associate Editor Dr. Meghan Campbell. Meghan has previous experience as an Associate Editor at Angewandte Chemie and a scientific background in chemically modified nucleic acid biochemistry. Together we look forward to expanding the scope of ChemBioChem, while maintaining the quality of publication our readers have come to expect.

Wiley Online Library (the homepage for ChemBioChem articles and those of all Wiley journals) is undergoing a major overhaul to provide a much smoother user experience. As part of this, we will soon have the launch of the Anywhere Article, a new type of PDF document that will enhance the reader's ability to seamlessly navigate between articles of interest and references within. Starting this month, we will also begin to publish Abstracts for all Communications in ChemBioChem. This is an important step forward in increasing the visibility of our authors' work through the different indexing databases. With the huge number of articles published each year, these databases have become the key for researchers to sort and prioritize their scientific reading list. The addition of an Abstract gives a better opportunity for these articles to be found and accessed through the databases.

Looking ahead to 2014, we see a number of exciting things coming up for ChemBioChem. For one, we are putting together an important special issue on the use of non-canonical amino acids to expand the genetic code. This issue will focus on taking the methods that have been developed for incorporating such amino acids and applying them to produce bioengineered proteins inside cells. With a great deal of help from our guest editor, Dr. Edward Lemke (European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg), we will push to publish this issue in late summer 2014, just in time for an important event on the chemical biology calendar. In late August, it will be time again for the EMBO Chemical Biology conference in Heidelberg, Germany and we look forward to meeting many of our authors there.

Additionally, 2014 promises to be a bit of a “digital revolution” at ChemBioChem. On February 1, we will be switching to a new system for manuscript submission and handling, which promises to be easier to use, with much more functionality for authors and referees alike. This new system will hopefully help us to continue to reduce our publication times, by delivering your latest research to an online audience faster than ever. Also exciting for readers of ChemBioChem is the recent launch of the iPad app. Following the format of the very successful Angewandte Chemie app, ours allows readers to browse articles with the latest in “smart” functions to connect with references and share with others. We are proud to offer this as the first devoted chemical biology app and hope you enjoy this new mobile reading experience while catching up at a conference or just making the most of your commute to work. For all the current group apps, check out http://chemistryviews.org/wileyapps

ChemBioChem also continues to connect with readers via social media and we encourage you to follow us on Twitter (@chembiochem) and “Like” us on Facebook (ChemBioChem) to get updates on the latest articles, news from ChemBioChem, and information on conferences that the editors with be attending.

Finally, we want to take this opportunity to thank all of the referees and authors who contribute their time and effort to make ChemBioChem successful. We owe the continued quality and innovation of the journal to their tireless input.

Best wishes for 2014!

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Peter Gölitz Editor in Chief Meghan Campbell Associate Editor

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