Biologia, Bratislava 53/3: 249-250, 1998

 

Editorial

 

An experimentalist does something that everybody believes except himself.

A theorist does something that nobody believes except himself.

 

The above ingenious statement by Albert Einstein could be taken as a general base for the editorial policy in Biologia, Bratislava section Cellular and Molecular Biology. First, it should indicate clearly that two types of scientific contributions are considered, i.e., those based on wet experimental work studying the biological processes at both cellular and molecular level as well as those utilised the existing various dry theoretical approaches in an effort to draw some conclusions concerning the biology in its widest sense. The manuscripts bringing the results of both experimental and theoretical nature scarcely balanced could rank among the top papers in each issue. Second, the Einstein's words should strongly encourage all experimentalists to leave them simultaneously the necessity to doubt in order to improve their experiments. As far as all theorists are concerned, they should also be encouraged, although they are often solitary in their work. The doubts from the side of their audience in this case may make the fruitful pressure on them which leads to improving of their theories again. And finally, the rational acceptance of the Einstein's "too strong" border between the experimental and theoretical scientific work should result also in the acceptance of mutual usefulness and indispensability of experimentalists and theorists in the scientific community.

After this perhaps a little bit academic introduction, let me allow to go on with more practical information presenting also some ideas, plans and suggestions on how to continue with improving the quality of Biologia in our common courageous process of establishing Biologia among other related and generally well-accepted international scientific journals. (Better is how to accelerate, since the indisputable advance has evidently been done during the several last years; please, compare the recent issues with those published e.g. ten years ago.) With regard to types of papers that can be published in the section Cellular and Molecular Biology, the Editorial Board has arrived at the conclusion that FULL PAPERS remain the base of the journal. The manuscripts should be written concisely and clearly simultaneously and should not exceed 25 pages including tables and illustrations. Shorter manuscripts bringing more modest number of results may be accepted as SHORT COMMUNICATIONS. In addition to these basic types of contributions REVIEWS either by invitation or upon author's own proposal will be published in the front of each issue. The manuscripts that will present some highly specific, too narrow problem may be published as LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. And finally, those that will bring first, new results on a hot topic deserving rapid publication may appeared in the journal in the form of PRELIMINARY COMMUNICATIONS. All the manuscripts considered for either section mentioned above are subject to peer review by two independent referees, from which one is always an expert in the relevant field and one is usually member of the Editorial Board. All the other contributions, such as BOOK REVIEWS, SYMPOSIUM REPORTS and CHRONICLES remain welcomed and are still considered to be the natural although not dominant part of the journal.

We have paid special attention to shortening the reviewing process, i.e. to shorten the time from the manuscript submission to its final acceptance (or rejection). We urge our referees to evaluate a manuscript in four weeks. Further delay may be caused also by authors that often submit their revised versions in the style not conforming the style of Biologia, moreover under a cover letter, such as "We agree with both referees and accept all their suggestions...". Please, note that this is unacceptable and take into account that we will no longer accept the revised versions of your manuscripts without a cover letter clearly explaining all the amendments and alterations you have made ! Simultaneously, feel free to discuss all the points posed by referees and also to express your disagreement with their statements. However, you must clearly present your opinion and provide the reasons why you disagree. Be sure, that the Editorial Board will consider the authors statements with sympathy. Thus it is absolutely necessary to read the Instructions to Authors of Biologia very carefully. These are printed at the back of the cover inside each issue. On the other hand, we apologise for some small, seemingly "cosmetic" changes introduced during last few years especially in citing the references. We have had to find a consensus acceptable for all the three sections (Botany, Zoology, and Cellular and Molecular Biology) of Biologia which have their own, often very specific requirements. Some further delay may be then introduced by the fact that we have only two issues per year. Thus, from time to time also a very good manuscript may wait for publication several months due to the fact that it did not catch the editorial and production deadlines. I would like to make you sure, however, that such a delay is almost exclusively in the hands of authors and the Editors make every efforts to speed the editorial handling.

As far as the Editorial Board of our section is concerned, the Editors are listed inside the cover of each issue. Actual January 1, 1998, three new international members have been appointed: Birte Svensson (Carlsberg Laboratory, Copenhagen, Denmark), Bernard Henrissat (CERMAV, CNRS, Grenoble, France) and Gregory K. Farber (Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PN, USA). So that Birte, Bernard and Greg, welcome on the board ! All of them are distinguished and internationally accepted scientific personalities and it is really hoped that their work for Biologia will be fruitful contribution. This is the same for the two further, already functioning members, Staffan Kjelleberg (University of New South Wales, Kensington, Australia) and Graham F. White (Wales University, Cardiff, UK). In these terms we have to thank Aleš Prokop from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TX, USA) who served on the Editorial Board for the years 1996-97. And last but not least, my special thanks go to Dezider Tóth, my predecessor in the post of Executive Editor, who introduced me into the all editorial practice. The progress which has been made in our section of Biologia under his leadership is self-evident and has been documented above. To mention at least one of the most important contributions, the name of our section, Cellular and Molecular Biology, has been established just during his Executive Editorship. I am glad to announce that he remains among us as a member of the Editorial Board. So once again, Dezider, thanks for all !

In order to get Biologia into more international indexing and abstracting services, our final aim is to reach the Life Sciences section of Current Contents. At present the entire Biologia (i.e. all the three sections) is covered by the Agriculture, Biology & Environmental Sciences section of Current Contents. This is not very suitable especially for our section Cellular and Molecular Biology, since many of our articles are thus overlooked by the scientists that do not browse the section Agriculture, Biology & Environmental Sciences of Current Contents. In these terms the opening the URL address in the www system of the Slovak Academy of Sciences for the entire Biologia as well as the entering the Medline service of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (Bethesda, MD, USA) for at least our section of Biologia may be very helpful and may perhaps be considered to be an alternative to Life Sciences section of Current Contents. All these activities, hoped to be realised actually this year, should be crucial on the way leading to our common goal, i.e., the high impact factor which is fortunately still raising and for the year 1996 has reached the value 0.11 according to ISI. All these activities, however, would be without any effect unless the raising number of good manuscripts will not be continuously submitted. One way of doing it could be to reach the harmony between our ambition to publish in renowned international journals and our desire to keep Biologia.

So that in the name of all editors, referees, authors and friends of Biologia I feel to be encouraged to exclaim: Long live Biologia, section Cellular and Molecular Biology !!!

Stefan JANECEK

Executive Editor