From Acta Botanica Sinica to JIPB: Connecting Chinese Plant Science with the International Community for 60 Years


In 1952, when botany was still regarded as a “new science” in China, a quarterly journal named Acta Botanica Sinica (ABS) was established by the Botanical Society of China. Dr. Shih-Wei Loo received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology (CIT) in 1945, and was appointed as the journal's first Editor-in-Chief for his achievements in plant biology (Tang and Loo 1940; Loo and Wang 1943). Since then, the journal has continuously nourished the growth of many Chinese botanists, except for a 5-year hiatus during the arduous Cultural Revolution period between 1967 and 1972. By 1989, the journal began publishing monthly.

In a push for greater exposure, a decision was made in 1998 by the sponsors and board members to switch from being a national journal to an international one. Due to its historical impact, ABS entered the SCI database in the same year. Nevertheless, even before the year 2000, ABS’ major task as the most important plant science journal in China was to connect Chinese plant biologists with the international science community. The majority of articles published before the year 2000 were written in Chinese, but they always included an English abstract. Among these articles are some internationally highly cited papers. After 2002, ABS began publishing exclusively in English for the worldwide scientific community.

In 2005, the journal began to collaborate with the Cambridge-based Blackwell Publishing Group (now Wiley-Blackwell) with the new title Journal of Integrative Plant Biology (JIPB). (Figure 1) (Liu and Liu 2008). ABS/JIPB is of notable importance in the Chinese plant science community. Among the top 15 authors in the journal's 60-year history, 7 have been elected Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the highest honor in the Chinese science community (Table 1).

Figure 1.

A schematic representation of the 60-year history of ABS/JIPB   

Table 1.  Top 15 ABS/JIPB authors in the past 60 years
RankAuthorsAffiliationsNo. of papers published in ABS/JIPB
  1. The data in Table 1 is from the CNKI database.

  2. aPassed away.

  3. bAcademician.

 1Ting-Yun KuangbInstitute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences96
 2Zheng-Li LiaPeking University65
 3Hong-Yuan Yanga, bWuhan University58
 4Jing-San SunInstitute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences53
 5Shi-Yi HuPeking University49
 6Fu-Hsiung Wanga, bInstitute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences46
 7Chang ZhouWuhan University42
 8Zhang-Liang ChenPeking University36
 8Pei-Sung Tanga, bInstitute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences36
10Shui Haoa, bNortheast Normal University35
11Zhi-Qing ZhuInstitute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences34
12Xin-Shi ZhangbInstitute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences29
13Ju-Fu HuangInstitute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences28
14Li-Huang ZhuInstitute of Genetics and Developmental Biology,26
   Chinese Academy of Sciences 
15Guo-Chang ZhengbLanzhou University23

2012 is a very special year for JIPB, as it marks the journal's 60th anniversary. Over the years, the journal has gradually changed from a national knowledge exchange platform to an international plant biology journal. JIPB's scope has also evolved to focus on more fundamental questions in plant science (Liu et al. 2008). A comprehensive website ( incorporates all of JIPB's functions, including Bench>Press, a manuscript processing system which allows all journal-related functions to be carried out from one location. The website also provides readers around the globe access to all articles published in JIPB dating back to 1952.

As a leading Chinese plant science journal, JIPB's reputation has been continuously recognized by national agencies. The journal has received more than 9 awards in the past 10 years. These awards include the Second Place Prize for “National Elite International Science and Technology Journal,” the “Most Influential Journal of the Past 60 Years in China,” the “National Journal Prize of China” (awarded on three separate occasions), and the “One Hundred Outstanding Chinese Academic Periodicals” prize (awarded on five separate occasions). JIPB has also been recognized as one of the “Top 7 Chinese Science and Technology Journals” by the China Association for Science and Technology from 2006 to 2011, and as a “Key Academic Journal” by the National Natural Science Foundation of China from 2001 to 2012, and has received the First Place Prize from the Science Publication Fund of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

This 60th anniversary issue is dedicated to our editorial board members, reviewers, editorial staff, and all others who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes over the past 60 years to make JIPB the great journal it is today. In addition, growing recognition from authors and from our readers is another key factor that has led to JIPB's achievements. This journal is currently subscribed to by over 14,200 libraries worldwide, and is indexed by 67 databases including PubMed, Google Scholar, SCI, CA, BA, and BIOSIS. Our Free Access initiative, which provides free online access to the majority of articles published since 1952, has resulted in over 178,000 full text downloads in 2011 (Figure 2). JIPB's SCI impact factor has likewise risen continuously over the last 7 years, going from 0.432 in 2005 to 2.534 in 2011 (Figure 3).

Figure 2.

JIPB's yearly downloads have increased 10 times in the last 7 years.

Figure 3.

JIPB's impact factor has increased consistently over the last 7 years. Based on statistical analyses, JIPB's impact factor for 2012 is predicted to be over 3.

To promote its visibility, JIPB has been involved in many national and international conferences and symposia. In the past two years alone, the journal has been promoted in more than 40 conferences, including the International Botanical Congress in Australia, the 21st International Conference on Arabidopsis Research in Japan, the 15th International Congress on

Photosynthesis in Beijing, and the National Conference on Plant Biology in Xining. JIPB has also successfully organized the 1st and 2nd International Symposium on Integrative Plant Biology in Yantai and Lanzhou, respectively, as a co-sponsor. More than 350 participants from all over the world attended these successful events. To help authors publish their results to meet international standards, JIPB has organized yearly workshops on scientific writing for the last 6 years in cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Lanzhou, and Yantai. This year, JIPB is proud to announce its role as a sponsor of the 2012 National Congress of Plant Biology, an event for scientists to meet and share their advances in plant research.

This is a fitting time to recognize JIPB's pioneer Editors-in-Chief who helped get the journal off the ground and make it successful: Profs. Shih-Wei Loo (Founding Chief Editor, 1952–1953), Cheng-Hou Lou (1954–1958), Sung-Shu Chien (1959–1966), Cheng Tsui (1979–1986), Fu-Hsiung Wang (1987–1995), Xin-Shi Zhang (1995–1999), He-Chun Ye (1999–2004), Xing-Guo Han (2004–2008), Hong Ma (2005–2008), and honorary Chief Editors Ting-Yun Kuang and Xin-Shi Zhang (1999 and 2004), as well as Zheng-Li Li, who has been our Associate Editor for 20 years (1979–1998).

I am proud to introduce our seven Associate Editors including Profs. William Lucas, Li-Jia Qu, Ian Baldwin, Mark Stitt, Wei-Cai Yang, Chris Hawes, and Leon Kochian (Figure 4), as well as our 77 internationally-renowned scientists as co-editors, who work together to coach authors and ensure the quality of all papers published in JIPB. In addition, all four JIPB editorial office staff have solid biology training and good communication skills, and aim to provide first-class service to our authors.

Figure 4.

JIPB's current steering committee.

JIPB has published many special issues on key plant biology topics such as the cytoskeleton, vascular transport, bioenergy, transgenic crops, abiotic stresses, plant responses to climate change, rice genomics, water saving in agriculture, leaf senescence, and many more.

This 60th anniversary special issue continues this tradition, and includes 5 invited expert reviews and 5 research articles. Academician Xiao-Ya Chen from the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences provided a comprehensive review article on the transcriptional regulation of plant secondary metabolism (Yang et al. 2012), and Academician Jing-Yun Fang wrote a review on satellite studies of vegetation changes in China (Zhao et al. 2012). In addition, the other 3 review articles in this issue are on regulatory pathways for epidermal cell differentiation (Lin and Takashi 2012), CLE peptides in plants (Gao and Guo 2012), and the regulation of brassinosteroid biosynthesis and inactivation (Zhao and Li 2012).

Additionally, this issue includes 5 standout research articles on key topics in the plant sciences. We are honored to include some recent results on phloem-mobile Aux/IAA transcripts targeting roots from Professor William J. Lucas’ Lab at the College of Biological Sciences, University of California at Davis (Notaguchi et al. 2012), and a paper on pollen morphology of Campanulaceae s. stre. from Academician Hong De-Yuan of the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The other 3 research articles in this issue are on pollen morphology of platycodonoids (Hong and Pan 2012), LHD1's role in heading time in rice (Dai et al. 2012), the Arabidopsis class II formin AtFH19 (Zheng et al. 2012), and the role of E3 ligases in regulating pollen mitosis in Arabidopsis (Luo et al. 2012). We thank all those who have contributed their work to make JIPB's 60th anniversary a special and memorable occasion. The articles in this issue stand to commemorate JIPB's pioneers who continued to carry out plant research during a difficult period in China's history in order to make the journal a success.

Finally, as a piece of very exciting news, JIPB has recently received a prestigious grant from the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) for the coming three years. This elite award will provide us a fantastic opportunity to further develop the journal. We could not have made these strides without the persistence and dedication of the entire JIPB team, and for that I am extremely grateful.