Our instructions to authors begin with a statement of the Journal’s scope: “The Journal of General Physiology strives to publish original work of the highest quality that elucidates basic biological, chemical, or physical mechanisms of broad physiological significance” (http://jgp.rupress.org/site/misc/ifora.xhtml).
In its effort to achieve its goal, the JGP currently publishes five types of articles initiated by authors: Regular Articles, Tutorial Research Articles, Communications, Journal Club Articles, and Letters to the Editor. In addition, the JGP publishes several other article types, usually initiated by the editors: Commentaries, Perspectives, Editorials, Reviews, and Milestones in Physiology. For the interested prospective author, we suggest for your consideration the following samples. Regular Articles (e.g., Wang et al., 2011) are of course the staple of our monthly menu. Commentaries (e.g., Garrity, 2011) spice up the regular diet, providing a tasty first course for the “meat and potatoes” of the corresponding research article. Tutorial Research Articles (e.g., Moss et al., 2009; Thiagarajah et al., 2010) may be seen as a “special,” offering fresh methodological insight while addressing a basic problem in physiology. Perspectives (Andersen, 2011) collect the insight and current opinion of several expert authors on a topic of broad significance, a buffet of viewpoints on a particular topic. The canon of article types and their specifications are always evolving. For example, we recently introduced the Journal Club Article (DiCiccio and Steinberg, 2011; Mujica and González, 2011) geared especially for scientists in training.
This editorial announces two additional changes. The first is in the length and character of the Communications. We can best illustrate the change by referring the reader to the Communication by O’Connell et al. in this issue. This investigation addresses a critical issue affecting many electrophysiologists who use Xenopus laevis oocytes for ion channel research: common infection by multi-drug–resistant bacteria. Such infections detract from investigations, decreasing the number of successful whole cell recordings and introducing variability in apparently successful ones. O’Connell et al. (2011) examine the effectiveness of 25 different antibiotics in treating the infections and establish an antibiotic cocktail protocol that maximizes oocyte quality. To accommodate this valuable article, we have eliminated the length restriction of all Communications going forward, and clarified that they need only address a problem of broad significance to physiology. We heartily encourage others to contact us about possible Communications.
A second change hereby announced is in the length of Reviews. Formerly, the JGP only published “Brief Reviews.” To accommodate a tasty menu of topics of current interest, we are now extending the length of the Review article to 20 journal pages. A number of Reviews are underway and will be appearing in the JGP in the months ahead. We invite our readership to write to us with suggestions for new entrees on the JGP menu.