Journal of General Physiology's (JGP) mission is to publish mechanistic and quantitative molecular and cellular physiology of the highest quality, to provide a best-in-class author experience, and to nurture future generations of independent researchers.
Aims and scope
Journal of General Physiology publishes original work that elucidates basic biological, chemical, or physical mechanisms of broad physiological significance. Apart from scientific quality and rigor, the major criteria for acceptance are originality, mechanistic insight, and interest to a broad readership. Areas in which we particularly welcome submissions include, but are not limited to, membrane protein physiology; protein structure and dynamics; lipid and membrane biophysics; cell mechanics and contractile systems; and intracellular and intercellular signaling. Although the main emphasis is on physiological questions at the molecular and cellular level, we welcome contributions pertaining to any aspect of general physiology. The journal also publishes articles that strive to understand physiological function through innovative model simulations. Methodological articles should provide a substantial technical advance in an area of physiological interest. Articles that are scientifically sound may be rejected if they are felt to lack novelty or breadth of appeal.
Why choose JGP?
With numerous academic journals now in existence, why publish in Journal of General Physiology?
The editors at JGP are committed to working with authors to realize the full potential of each and every article. We have no page limits for research papers so that authors can present their work as carefully and thoughtfully as they accumulated it. We encourage all material necessary to understand the work—including the methodology—to be included in the main paper, rather than in supplemental materials.
JGP's editors believe that the goal of the review process is to identify important contributions to the scientific literature and ensure that, when published, the work is as free from error and clear in presentation as possible. We take great pride in the thoughtful and thorough review that JGP manuscripts undergo (see https://doi.org/10.1085/JGP.200910193).
The editors at JGP are active scientists who fully understand the concerns that authors may have. We take care to choose appropriate reviewers, but also read papers carefully ourselves and form our own opinions. When manuscripts require revision, we provide authors with clear instructions about what must be revised, based on both the reviews and our reading of the manuscript. We also strive to minimize multiple rounds of review. For less experienced authors, or authors submitting to the journal for the first time, we are happy to provide mentoring throughout the review process. Moreover, JGP's editors are willing and able to evaluate the concerns of authors who disagree with issues raised in a particular review. We work with authors to ensure that valid reviewer concerns are addressed and identify concerns that may be left unaddressed without detracting from the quality and scientific merit of the final article. Despite the care with which we review articles, we strive to keep the turnaround time for peer review and the time from acceptance to publication to the minimum consistent with quality control.
The combination of high-quality submissions and the rigor and care observed during the review process has enabled us to publish a superb body of work. In the nearly 100 years that JGP has existed, a remarkable number of articles that have graced our pages have gone on to become classics in the field. Indeed, articles published in JGP many years ago continue to be vigorously cited and we expect that articles published today will continue to be cited many years from now.
Submissions of research manuscripts that fall within the scope of JGP are welcomed by the editors. Those that provide novel mechanistic insight or a significant technical advance in an area of physiological interest will be subject to external peer review. Submissions intended for special issues should be noted in a cover letter.
Articles should provide mechanistic insight into processes of broad physiological significance. Theoretical research that requires significant technical effort, provides an unanticipated result and is grounded on established experimental evidence will be considered in this category. No limits are imposed on the number of words or figures in Articles, thus it should be possible to read and understand the article without consulting supplemental materials.
Communications are intended for discoveries that are more narrowly focused, and which may be less mechanistically developed or more descriptive in nature than work typically presented in Articles. Communications are usually shorter than Articles, but like Articles, no limits are imposed on the number of words or figures.
Hypotheses should report novel theoretical analyses or interpretations of existing data that help to define a new perspective for future investigations. This format is intended for work that is influential, but more conceptual in nature than typically reported in a research Article. The ideas put forward must be experimentally accessible and avoid unwarranted speculation. No limits are imposed on the number of words or figures in Hypotheses. Authors are encouraged to discuss the suitability of their work for a Hypothesis with the editorial office.
Methods and Approaches describe new techniques that may be used to investigate basic problems in physiology. They should include validation of the technique by providing insight into a problem of physiological significance obtained through its use. Methods and Approaches are intended to enable interested readers to adopt the methodology described; thus, no limits are placed on the number of words and figures that can be included.
Review and opinion content listed below is usually commissioned by the editors but proposals will be considered if an outline is submitted to the editorial office. Supplemental material is not permitted for this type of content.
Essays are brief and informal vignettes that provide a personal perspective on a topic of interest to the journal.
Commentaries are short opinion pieces that highlight a notable research paper, or set of related papers, in the context of their field. They are intended for a broad audience of physiologists, including those outside the specific field of the highlighted article. Commentaries are reviewed by the editors and occasionally by an external reviewer.
Perspectives are relatively brief articles on a common theme that are published concurrently in one issue of the journal. Typically, several experts present brief—sometimes opposing—points of view concerning a scientific problem of current interest. Perspectives are subject to external peer review.
Milestones in Physiology provide a historical retrospective of notablephysiological discoveries, often in conjunction with major anniversaries. Milestones in Physiology are peer-reviewed articles.
Tutorials take a didactic approach to theoretical or experimental issues in physiology. Tutorials may provide a practical discussion targeted to more junior readers, may present approaches established in other fields but little known in physiology, or may elaborate on a conceptual framework published elsewhere in a less complete form. Tutorials are peer-reviewed articles.
Reviews provide a comprehensive and timely summary of an area of interest to readers of the journal as well as a critical assessment of the field. The ideal Review should reflect the opinion of the author, whilst acknowledging other points of view, and describe how recent findings are driving current thinking in that field. Reviews are subject to external peer review.
Viewpoints, like Reviews, present a summary and critical analysis of a scientific issue of current interest. They are typically more sharply focused than Reviews and, as the name implies, specifically present the author's point of view. Viewpoints are peer-reviewed articles.
Essays and Commentaries are usually reviewed only by the editors, although Commentaries occasionally have one or more external reviewers. Tutorials, Reviews, and Viewpoints undergo external peer review by at least two independent experts. The Scientific Managing Editor handles the peer review of Reviews.
Articles, Communications, Hypotheses, Methods and Approaches, and Perspectives are subject to a uniform and rigorous review.
After such a manuscript is received, it is first evaluated by the editors and, occasionally, a Guest Editor chosen from among the Editorial Advisory Board. In some cases, a member of the Editorial Advisory Board may be asked to provide a preliminary evaluation of a manuscript's importance and originality. After this initial evaluation, manuscripts that fall outside the scope of JGP, or are not considered to reach the standard of other similar papers published in the journal, will be declined for publication. Otherwise, for manuscripts selected for peer review, the editors will engage two or more expert reviewers bearing authors' suggestions and requested exclusions in mind.
Once all the reports have been received, reviewers are offered an opportunity to read the other reviewers' reports and modify their recommendation if appropriate. Decisions are made collectively by the editors during the weekly editorial meetings. Guest Editors, Editorial Advisory Board members and Junior Faculty Networking Cohort mentees occasionally join these meetings and are subject to the same confidentiality and conflict of interest policies that apply to editors. Each manuscript is read in detail by at least one editor and decisions reached following a thorough discussion of the editors’ evaluations and the reviewers' advice (occasionally after a dialogue with the reviewers if important issues require clarification). Manuscripts submitted by the Editor-in-Chief or Associate Editors follow a different process, described below. Once a decision has been made, authors are provided with unambiguous instructions about the revisions required for publication in JGP in a clearly worded decision letter, which is forwarded to the reviewers for their information. If the editors consider the revisions to be major, a "revised date" will be included in the article in the case of eventual publication.
Occasionally, manuscripts are declined for publication following review, for example if there is insufficient evidence to support the conclusions. If authors believe that a serious scientific error occurred during the review process, they may appeal the decision to reject through the online manuscript submission system. In these cases, the editors will usually consult the original reviewers, and/or one or more Editorial Advisory Board members, before deciding on the merits of the appeal. Authors may also transfer their manuscript, reviewer comments, and reviewer identities to another journal through our transfer system (see our Transfer policy). Reviewers may opt out of having their identity transferred.
Revised manuscripts are subject to careful reexamination and will only be reviewed again if the editors consider it necessary. New reviewers may occasionally be invited if the original reviewers are unavailable or if additional expertise is required to assess new data. Authors of rejected manuscripts may be invited to resubmit a new or revised manuscript, subject to the major criticisms of the reviewers being addressed, in which case the article will include a revised date in the case of eventual publication. If the revision process takes longer than one year, the revised manuscript will be treated as a new submission and will receive a new submission date.
All revised manuscripts should be accompanied by a letter that describes how the manuscript was modified in the form of a point by point response to each of the issues raised by the reviewers and editors. This letter must be signed by the corresponding author and include a formal statement that all authors have seen and approved the revisions, including any changes in authorship (in which case any deleted authors must also sign the letter). Authors should be aware that their responses to the reviewers' comments will usually be disclosed to the reviewers and should be worded accordingly.
Communications between authors and the editorial office
Questions regarding the status of a manuscript are handled by the editorial office staff (email@example.com). To maintain the efficiency of the JGP office, authors are asked to keep such queries to a minimum and, whenever possible, to communicate via email. The editorial office will only provide information to the designated corresponding author.
More complex problems concerning the manuscript should be addressed to the Editor-in-Chief and made in writing to the editorial office. To ensure consistency and fairness, the Editor-in-Chief will usually discuss the authors' concerns with the editors, and possibly also the reviewers and one or more Editorial Advisory Board members, before responding to the authors.
To avoid concerns of bias in the review process, manuscripts submitted by the Editor-in-Chief or Associate Editors are handled by the Consulting Editor, with input from a guest editor (usually a member of the Editorial Advisory Board), if necessary. Such manuscripts are discussed outside the weekly editorial meetings. Manuscripts submitted by former Editors-in-Chief or Associate Editors who left the position at the journal within the prior three years are handled in the same manner. Manuscripts submitted by members of the Editorial Advisory Board do not follow this modified process and are handled in the same way as any other manuscript.
Editorial Advisory Board
The Editor-in-Chief is appointed by the Executive Director of the Rockefeller University Press. Associate Editors and the Consulting Editor are appointed by the Editor-in-Chief and the Executive Director of the Rockefeller University Press. Editorial Advisory Board members are appointed by the Editor-in-Chief in consultation with the Associate Editors. The Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editors meet weekly to consider manuscript decisions. The policies and practices of JGP are established by the Editor-in-Chief and the Consulting Editor, with the advice of the Associate Editors and Editorial Advisory Board. There is one annual Editorial Advisory Board meeting.
Reviewers should contact the editor to discuss any potential conflicts of interest prior to accepting an invitation to peer review a manuscript and approach the evaluation with the intention of minimising unconscious bias. Reviewers are asked to comment on the interest and importance of the work to the field, as well as the technical rigor, statistical analysis, and presentation of the manuscript. Should a reviewer require additional data, such as structural coordinates or uncropped gels, in order to evaluate a manuscript, they should contact the editor. We ask that reviewers provide critical yet constructive comments that will help the authors improve their work for publication in JGP or elsewhere. If the work is potentially appropriate for JGP, but the conclusions not supported by the data, we ask that additional experiments are recommended. References should be cited wherever possible when describing relevant work from the literature.
Reviewers will have the opportunity to see each other's comments and modify their own review before a decision is made on a manuscript.
Reviewers are expected to treat the information in unpublished manuscripts with the strictest confidence. If a reviewer needs advice from a colleague or collaborator, they should contact the editor in advance. Co-reviewing manuscripts with trainees (graduate students and postdoctoral researchers) is allowed. However, their name and their contribution should be indicated in confidential comments to the editor, and we expect that the senior reviewer will independently evaluate the manuscript and approve the final comments.
Because consistency during peer review is important, we request that reviewers commit to reviewing future versions of the manuscript if needed.
Except when a reviewer explicitly wishes to be identified, the editors will maintain the anonymity of reviewers. It is assumed that reviewers will not identify themselves to authors without informing the editors.
Postdoctoral Mentoring Programs
An important part of JGP's mission is to nurture future generations of independent researchers through its Postdoctoral Mentoring Program, which offers the opportunity for postdoctoral scientists to interact with the journal as authors, reviewers and advisers.
Members of the program are invited to act as reviewers for the journal alongside "tried and tested" reviewers and are offered an opportunity to read the other reports and revise their own before decisions are made. Once decisions have been sent to the author, the editors provide constructive feedback to the postdoctoral reviewers if they feel it would benefit their training.
The editors can offer some members of the program a mentoring service in writing and submitting review material to JGP. This service is arranged following discussions with the principal investigator from whom the article is usually commissioned.
The editors are happy to write letters of recommendation that acknowledge the contributions of Postdoctoral Mentoring Program members to the journal.
To apply to join the Postdoctoral Mentoring Program, please send a CV and cover letter, including up to six keywords and the names of past and present supervisors, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Winners of JGP-sponsored poster prizes at scientific meetings throughout the year will automatically be invited to join the program.
Junior Faculty Networking Cohorts
In 2017, JGP launched its first Junior Faculty Networking Cohort in partnership with the Society for General Physiologists. The purpose of these cohorts is to support and connect junior faculty in the first stage of their independent careers. Each cohort involves up to nine junior faculty members being matched with a mentor belonging to the JGP Editorial Advisory Board. Each cohort and their mentor meet quarterly to discuss topics such as selection and management of personnel, financial management, and collaborating wisely. Members of the cohort also receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the review process at JGP, in accordance with our conflict-of-interest policy for editors and reviewers, and are invited to attend the annual Editorial Advisory Board meeting.
The application process for future cohorts will be advertised each summer on the Junior Faculty Networking Cohort web page.
Aims and scope
Why choose JGP?
Editorial Advisory Board
Postdoctoral Mentoring Programs
Junior Faculty Networking Cohorts
Author name changes
Animal and human studies
Data integrity and plagiarism
Materials and data sharing
Conflict of interest