The Journal of General Physiology continues to evolve. In the past year, we began a new initiative, the Perspectives in General Physiology, which provides a forum for authoritative discussions of problems of current interest. Several other initiatives, including the CiteTrack alert feature, were established for subscribers to the electronic version of The Journal, and we expect to introduce additional features to the electronic version during the coming year. To facilitate access to the electronic version, we provide international access via high speed links to most major cities in the world. To encourage broader dissemination of articles in The Journal, we provide unrestricted access to articles in the electronic version 18 months after their initial publication.
On another front, the number of submitted manuscripts increased by 25%, the median time from submission to the first decision decreased to 36 days, the median time to acceptance decreased to 85 days, and the median time from acceptance to publication decreased to 60 days. The median time from initial submission to publication thus decreased from about six to less than five months and, as evidenced by an article in this issue, we can publish articles within three months of submission. Furthermore, the number of manuscripts without final decision has been reduced to about one third of the number received in a year. These developments came about through further tightening of our editorial and copyediting procedures, without affecting the quality and rigor of the manuscript review process, which bodes well for The Journal's continued well-being. This is important because The Journal's long-term impact factor is the highest among physiology journals, according to the Institute for Scientific Information, and we rank twentieth among all scientific journals. Moreover, The Journal is among those journals that showed the largest improvement over the last 15 years. We intend to maintain that momentum.
In another important development, the mix of articles is changing—an evolution we wish to accelerate. We continue to publish articles that provide in-depth analysis of basic biological, chemical, or physical mechanisms of general physiological significance. These articles always have been a characteristic of The Journal and they will remain so. What is new is that we publish an increasing number of shorter articles that report on exciting new findings that provide new insights into biological function, and which set the stage for the detailed mechanistic studies on important physiological mechanisms that we traditionally have published. There is no longer a minimal size limit on the articles we publish, and we encourage the submission of short articles, which we usually publish within four months of the initial submission. We expect such articles to provide a clear, well-defined message that clearly delineates the important issues in a manner that will appeal to the broad readership of The Journal, not just a small group of experts. Given that all articles receive expeditious treatment, however, we see no need for a special category of accelerated articles.