To Improve is to Change
CHANGE…a six-letter word in the English language that strikes fear in many. To change is to make different. But it is the unknown consequences of the change that some people fear. As the start of the New Year begins, you should have noticed a change to the cover of our journal. This is one of several changes that have been implemented since I started my role as Editor-in-Chief two years ago.
So why make changes to JASMS? Sir Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is widely credited with the statement, “To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.” JASMS has been doing well. It remains a premier journal focused on the science of mass spectrometry. Our Founding Editor-in-Chief, Mike Gross, expertly captained the ship, steering the journal through the changing waves of mass spectrometry and the publishing world. JASMS began when electrospray ionization (ESI) and matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) were in their infancy. Now both are mature techniques, almost middle aged, and the robust growth of MS is a direct result of their contributions. New ‘omics’-based strategies that generate large MS datasets and, potentially, new knowledge are popular today. MS-related instrumentation, software, sample handling and, importantly, their applications, keep improving and expanding – and these developments are reported in JASMS.
Some of the changes that have been implemented over the past 2 years are subtle, but with the intention of improving the journal. Authors and readers requested that we increase the number of figures allowed in the main text, and so we increased the number of figures from six to eight. (I remind you that additional materials that are accessible by our readers on-line can be placed into Supplemental Materials. And don’t forget that color illustrations are published at no charge.)
We continue to publish Critical Insight articles. The aims of Critical Insights are to highlight topics of current interest in a thought-provoking way, to provide insider information that is often difficult to publish in regular articles, and to provoke response and debate. Coupled with Critical Insights, we encourage the submission of short Accounts and Perspectives (A&P) articles. These A&P articles are meant to spotlight recent developments in a focused area of mass spectrometry together with a view to the future.
How we read papers has changed since the start of JASMS in 1990. In late 2016, we polled the ASMS membership on their experiences with JASMS and how they viewed its content. The results of the survey encouraged us to consider alternative electronic formats of the journal. Each issue is now available as a digital “flipbook” that can be read using any common Web browser. As we all gain experience with this format, feel free to let us know if you like it and to suggest other improvements to the journal. We listen to you.
Send us your best work, including the best applications of MS. For any journal, what’s most important is inside the covers. JASMS belongs to you members of ASMS. You can help our Society’s journal by sending us your best mass spectrometry work for consideration. Our posted Aims and Scope state that JASMS is “devoted mainly to the publication of research papers covering all aspects of mass spectrometry. Papers from all fields of scientific inquiry in which mass spectrometry plays a role will be considered.” In addition, JASMS is “intended to be comprehensive, and its aim is to publish papers on both fundamentals and applications of mass spectrometry.” Based on the 2016 survey, some members perceive the journal to be more heavily biased on fundamentals and instrumentation, whereas others see a good balance between fundamentals and applications. We strive for the latter. Manuscripts reporting applications of mass spectrometry that are novel and significant are encouraged and welcomed. We want to highlight the newest developments of mass spectrometry, the highest quality of mass spectrometry science, and the best applications of mass spectrometry in all areas of science.
Tell us how you feel about JASMS and how the journal should change. JASMS belongs to ASMS members. It’s your journal. Tell us what you like in the journal (and what you don’t like).
Joseph A. Loo
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California, USA