Much has changed in the last 60 years since a group of scientists at the then Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research broke ground on what would become The Journal of Cell Biology. Today, centrifuges and microtomes can be ordered with a few clicks of a mouse rather than arduously built and honed by hand. Electron microscopy data are now stored in gigabyte or terabyte digital files instead of on two-dimensional glass plates. And of course, the molecular biology revolution beginning in the 1970s and the subsequent genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic analyses performed over the last two decades have dramatically expanded the questions that can be asked, and provided the means to obtain a deeper mechanistic understanding of cellular processes.
As the field of cell biology has changed over the years, so too has JCB, with the evolution of the journal’s scope to embrace the new directions and depth of the field as well as with the adoption of new technologies to maximize the value and reach of the papers the journal publishes. Today, most papers are found and read online—on monitors, on tablets, and on phones. Reprints and bound journals have been superseded by interactive HTML and PDFs, and original imaging data can now be directly accessed thanks to innovative tools such as the JCB DataViewer (Hill, 2008). As yet more new technologies emerge, JCB will continue to embrace additional ways of serving the community and improving the process of sharing the best cell biology the field has to offer with the broader scientific community.
Through all of the growth and changes within the field of cell biology, however, one element has not changed: JCB’s commitment to the journal’s core principle of being a journal run by scientists and for scientists (Mellman, 2009), with an industry-leading focus on quality and integrity. For 60 years, JCB has relied on and benefited from editorial decisions made by our very own colleagues in the field. Further, as a journal founded to ensure and promote the quality of published image data, its reputation and value to the community continues to rest with its commitment to data integrity (Rossner, 2002; Rossner and Yamada, 2004), a commitment recently reinforced by our endorsement of the National Institutes of Health Proposed Principles and Guidelines for Reporting Preclinical Studies (http://www.nih.gov/about/reporting-preclinical-research.htm).
In recognition of our diamond anniversary, in the coming year JCB will publish several special anniversary pieces aimed at celebrating the field of cell biology. First, we will celebrate some of the major milestones in the field by expanding our From the Archive series (http://jcb.rupress.org/site/misc/fromthearchive.xhtml), which was first launched on the occasion of our 50th anniversary to highlight some of the field-defining science published in the journal over the past several decades. Second, we will explore where the field may go in the years to come with interesting perspectives addressing the question, what is cell biology? These will be written by representatives of the many facets of modern cell biology. We hope you enjoy these anniversary pieces, as well as the excellent new papers to be published in JCB this and every year.