Anyone who has been to the supermarket or drug store in the last couple of weeks has been bombarded with commercial reminders that mother’s day is just around the corner. Flowers, mom mugs, and cards all vie for attention next to registers beckoning shoppers to make a purchase and check mother’s day responsibility off the to-do list. When I picked up a tea kettle printed with spring flowers for my own mother, I was thinking of it as a mechanism to express my gratitude for all the love and support she has lavished on me. Having recently produced my own offspring, however, I find myself reflecting on the truly amazing biological processes that must occur in order for us to be here to celebrate mother’s day. So in addition to thanking her for being the amazing person she is, I also thank her for embarking on an amazing biological adventure three decades ago.
The grind of assays, meetings, and deadlines often forces us to narrow our focus exclusively on our own little piece of the biological puzzle such that thinking about the larger pattern becomes overwhelming. This weekend I will be trying to contemplate the biology of motherhood with wonder and appreciation instead of my more typical bewilderment.
As med-bio researchers we are more attuned than most to the incredible number of steps that must take place in near perfect choreography for a healthy living organism to result. Dividing cells talk and cross-talk, differentiate at variable rates, and form functioning organs that allow the growing fetus to become more and more independent. For mammals, cross talk between the maternal system and the fetal system trigger additional developmental programs for lactation in mom that were arrested at puberty. In the hood we are happy if we can get our cultures to remain viable for more than several months. With all the resources of a full organism, cells can still be fully functional decades later without resorting to preservation in liquid nitrogen!
Incidentally, there was a student at Stanford a few years back who was also moved by mother’s day to contemplate the science behind the celebration. He expressed his appreciation much more eloquently than I in a ballad that can be found here on YouTube.
This mother’s day take time to celebrate the positive impact your mother has had in your life and use it also as a day to celebrate eons of evolution that result in modern biology. And don’t forget father’s day and grandparent’s day too!
Where you publish can be as important as what you publish. Consider the following when choosing a journal to which to submit your article:
- How does the journal rank according to impact factor and other journal metrics?
- Who is on the editorial board of the journal?
- Can you easily identify and contact the journal’s publisher?
- Is the journal’s peer review process explicit?
- Is the journal or publisher a member of a recognized industry initiative?
- What opinion do your colleagues and mentors have of the journal?
- Does the journal publish research that is relevant to your work?
- Does the journal publish the type of article that you want to write?
- Who reads the journal? Is this the audience that you want to read your work?
- Is the journal indexed by major databases, such as PubMed, Web of Science, or other discipline-specific databases? This information can be found on the journal’s website or Ulrichsweb (see below).
- Does the journal offer extra services, such as graphical abstracts, videos or social media promotion?
Public and Open Access
- Do you wish to publish in an open access journal, or a journal that has an open access option? If so, what are the associated article processing charges (APCs)?
- Does your article need to comply with a funder’s public access policy?
- Does the journal allow self-archiving a version of the article on a personal website or institutional repository? Is there an embargo period?
Finding Journal Metrics
For an explanation of the metrics mentioned below, see ‘How is Journal Impact Measured?’ in our Measuring Research Impact guide: http://researchguides.library.tufts.edu/researchimpact.
- Journal Citation Reports: Journal Citation Reports provides Impact Factors, Eigenfactors and Article Influence Scores for science and social science journals.
- Scopus: Scopus provides CiteScore, SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) and Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) for journals and book series. These metrics are also freely available at Journal Metrics.
Other Resources for Evaluating Journals
Predatory, or illegitimate, publishers and journals have proliferated in recent years. These journals collect article processing charges (APCs) without providing publisher services, such as peer review, editing, and long-term preservation and access, in return (note that many legitimate publishers and journals have APCs for open access). While it can be difficult to determine whether or not a journal is predatory, the questions above and the resources listed below can help you distinguish a predatory journal from one that is not. In addition, you can look at the potential characteristics of predatory journals identified in a recent cross-sectional study of biomedical journals.1
- Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE): COPE provides advice to editors and publishers on all aspects of publication ethics, in particular how to handle research and publication misconduct. COPE members are expected to follow a code of conduct for journal editors. Search ‘Member’ page for journal or publisher.
- Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): Directory of peer-reviewed open access journals. Journals must apply to be included in this directory. Journals that adhere to an exceptionally high level of publishing standards are awarded the DOAJ Seal.
- NLM Catalog: Search the National Library of Medicine Catalog (NLM) to discover which journals are indexed in PubMed/MEDLINE and other National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) databases.
- Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA): OASPA develops business models, tools and standards for open access publishers. Publishers must apply for membership to this organization, and are expected to adhere to set criteria. View ‘Member’ page for complete membership list.
- Ulrichsweb: Ulrichsweb™ is an authoritative source of bibliographic and publisher information on more than 300,000 periodicals of all types–academic and scholarly journals, Open Access publications, peer-reviewed titles, popular magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and more from around the world.
Match Your Manuscript to a Journal
If you are having trouble finding a journal for your manuscript, then try a manuscript matcher. These tools recommend journals based on your manuscript’s title, abstract or keywords.
- EndNote Manuscript Matcher: Manuscript matcher, a feature in EndNote online, uses Web of Science data to suggest journals based on the title, abstract and references of your article. Anyone can create an online EndNote account, which can be synced with the desktop version of EndNote. Once you sign in to your online account, look for ‘Match’ in the menu at the top.
- Journal/Author Name Estimator (JANE): JANE compares the title and/or abstract of your article to MEDLINE records to find journals that are the best match for your article.
- JournalGuide: Free tool that helps researchers evaluate journals. Paper Match feature offers journal recommendations based on your manuscript’s title, abstract and/or keywords. Informational page for each journal lists its aims and scope, Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP), acceptance rate, submission and publication charges, when available, responsiveness and speed of publication. ‘Verified’ journals have been verified by third party indexes as recognized, reputable journals in their field.
1Shamseer L, Moher D, Maduekwe O, Turner L, Barbour V, Burch R, Clark J, Galipeau J, Roberts J, Shea BJ. Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Med. 2017;15(1):28; PMID: 28298236.
Writing for Biomedical Publication, David C. Morrison, Christopher J. Papasian, Stephen W. Russell
Location: HHSL Book Stacks, Sackler 5, WZ 345 M878w 2012
This workbook lays out how to think about and write each section of a biomedical manuscript, and how to approach issues such as co-authorship, editors, reviewers and conflict of interest.
The Trespasser, Tana French
Location: HHSL Leisure Reading, Sackler 4, Fiction F873t 2016
Summer is just around the corner, so why not pick up a good mystery? Tana French’s thoughtful mysteries provide an intimate portrait of life in and around modern-day Dublin, Ireland. This is the latest in her Dublin Murder Squad series; while there are recurring characters in this series, it is not necessary to have read the earlier books (although they are all good!)