The purpose of my previous editorial (published October 2007) was to explain the need to publish an extra 1400 pages in that year to reduce the backlog that had built up and so reduce the time taken between acceptance and publication in issue format. Submissions to the Journal have continued to increase at a consistently high rate, however, and a backlog is again building. Clearly, this is an unsustainable situation for the Journal, and at the annual journal meeting in May an action plan was devised to rectify the situation.
Whilst the Journal is still committed to the dissemination of research in applied microbiology, it is felt that the community might be better served by publishing only what is considered to be in the top 25% of research output. This will mean that fewer papers are published overall. The Aims and Scope have been amended to demonstrate the Journal’s intentions and now incorporate the words ‘high quality’ and ‘novel’ as follows:
‘Journal of Applied Microbiology publishes high quality research and review papers on novel aspects of applied microbiology, including environmental, food, agricultural, medical, pharmaceutical, veterinary, taxonomy, soil, systematics, water and biodeterioration. Papers reporting work on all micro-organisms, including viruses, are welcomed provided they demonstrate new findings of significance to the field as a whole.’
To achieve these aims, it will be necessary to introduce a new, more rigorous reviewing procedure, one effect of which will be to reject more papers after careful consideration but before full formal review. It is likely, therefore, that more authors will be disappointed by the decisions the Journal makes, at least in the short term, but that the end effect will be a journal that is able to fill its pages with high-quality, readable and citable papers.
Finally, let me emphasize that the viability of the Journal of Applied Microbiology continues to depend on its authors, reviewers and editors. As Chief Editor, may I thank all concerned for their sterling efforts. Please continue to support JAM in the future as you did in the past.
Chief Editor, JAM