We recently had occasion to celebrate an important milestone in the history of the Journal of General Physiology, as we completed the on-line archive of all back issues of the Journal of General Physiology. Fully interactive HTML versions will be available only for articles published since January of 1997, but www.jgp.org provides free access to PDF versions of all articles published in the Journal since volume 1, issue 1 appeared in 1918. All articles are available as searchable PDFs, and the figures were scanned separately from the text in order to maximize the quality of the final product. The abstracts are being scanned and converted to text, so as to be compatible with standard bibliographic database software. We expect this process will be completed over the summer. Unfortunately, much of the material will not be accessible through PubMed, which currently goes back only to 1965.
In another important development, over the last couple of years the work flow in the Journal increasingly has become electronic. Given this, we recently decided to make the online version of the Journal the “journal of record” and to optimize the reproduction of color images in the on-line version by posting them without any conversion of colors from the original. This does not mean that the print version will look substandard; but we will not be using the print version as our standard. In practice, we will require that all color figures be submitted in RGB format, which is the format we all are familiar with on our computer displays. The RGB format can generate many more colors, and more vibrant colors, than can be generated by the CMYK format that is used for printing color images on paper. For a detailed description of the difference between the RGB and CMYK formats, please see the editorial in our fellow Rockefeller University Press journal, the Journal of Cell Biology (Rossner and O'Donnell, 2004).
Though the online version of the Journal has become the journal of record, and we strongly encourage our authors to submit their articles through our online submission system at www.jgp.org (or PDF files sent to sent as email attachments to email@example.com), we will for the time being continue to receive manuscripts as hardcopy paper versions.
In another development, we continue to find that, as image-processing software has become ever more sophisticated, so has the potential for “enhancing” the appearance of gels and photographs. It therefore is important that authors ensure that the submitted figures faithfully represent the data in question. As I noted last year, in order to promote experimental reproducibility we have added requirements about the disclosure of information about image acquisition to our Instructions to Authors at http://www.jgp.org/misc/ifora.shtml#digim. We realize that it in some cases may be appropriate to manipulate the digital image of a gel, but it should be clearly noted in the figure and the figure legend. In any case, the Rockefeller University Press will from now on be making changes to figures in which the gels appear to have been spliced by the author. White lines will be added to indicate the boundary between the spliced lanes in the figure, and the author will be queried for approval. In these cases, the copy editor will add the following sentence: “White lines indicate that intervening lanes have been spliced out.”
We are proud of how the Journal continues to evolve, and we are convinced that these new developments will strengthen the Journal of General Physiology even further.