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History

Since its inception in 1896, the goal of Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM) has been to publish outstanding and enduring studies in medical biology. At a time when many leading publishing groups are establishing topic-specific journals, we believe it is critical to complement that approach by offering a distinguished venue for publication of studies that integrate disciplines within the field of pathogenesis.

A distinctive editorial system supports this goal with an emphasis on exceptional service to our authors. Two groups of editors work hand in hand: professional editors with strong scientific backgrounds and full-time practicing scientists. At least one editor from each group evaluates the merits of each paper prior to external review. The editors convene weekly to discuss all papers with external referee comments and reach rapid decisions without excessive requests for revision.

Within the field of medical biology, we focus both on human studies and diverse in vivo experimental models of human disease that address such topics as genetics, inflammation, immunity, infectious disease, cancer, vascular biology, metabolic disorders, neuroscience, and stem cell biology. We welcome reports ranging from atomic-level analyses to clinical interventions that illustrate new mechanisms.

JEM origins

JEM was founded in 1896 at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine by William Welch, the school’s founder and also the first president of the Board of Scientific Directors of The Rockefeller Institute. From its inception, Welch edited the journal by himself—even editing manuscripts while attending baseball games—and he eventually found that it placed too heavy a burden on his time. By March 1902, the editorial burden became too great for Welch, who stopped publishing papers and began stockpiling manuscripts and unanswered correspondence in his office, explaining the conspicuous absence of published papers from 1902 to 1904 (see JEM Archives).

In October 1902, Welch appealed to the board of The Rockefeller Institute to take over the journal. The transfer of ownership and publication responsibilities required the physical transfer of manuscripts from Welch’s office, which fell to the director of The Rockefeller Institute, Simon Flexner, who carried the abandoned manuscripts from Baltimore to New York in a suitcase.

The first issue of JEM published by The Rockefeller Institute appeared in February 1905, with Flexner serving as editor, and the journal has been published regularly since then. Although the journal was adopted by The Rockefeller Institute as a venue for publication of the Institute’s own research, it also accepted submissions from outside. Even in the early years, more than half of the papers published in the journal came from external labs.

Adapted from the Wikipedia entry for Journal of Experimental Medicine

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