Helen Whitaker Discusses BMC Biotechnology's History & Growing Impact

Journal Interview, January 2011

BMC Biotechnology

According to a recent analysis of Essential Science IndicatorsSM from Clarivate Analytics, the journal BMC Biotechnology is having a growing impact in the field of Biology & Biochemistry.

The journal's current record in this field includes 469 papers cited 3,074 times between January 1, 2000 and August 31, 2010.

BMC Biotechnology is part of the BioMed Central series of journals, 64 open access online journals on a wide variety of topics. BioMed Central is itself part of Springer.

In the interview below, ScienceWatch.com talks with Dr. Helen Whitaker, BioMed Central's Senior Journal Development Editor for BMC Biotechnology, about the journal's history and citation achievements.


SW: Did you expect BMC Biotechnology to become highly cited, or is this surprising to you?

With an Impact Factor of 2.72, BMC Biotechnology ranks well in the Clarivate Analytics Journal Citation Report® (50th of 152 journals in the Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology category). After a healthy increase in Impact Factor for 2009,we are delighted that our success is confirmed by entry into the Essential Science Indicators database.

SW: How would you account for the high citation rate of BMC Biotechnology?

BMC Biotechnology is an open access online journal andall publications are available for free to a worldwide audience. Whilst we would always advocate a thorough review of the literature, if you can't read an article, you are perhaps less likely to cite it.

Alongside novel research, the journal publishes high-quality methods that are widely adopted and cited. For example, "Real-time PCR based on SYBR-Green I fluorescence: An alternative to the TaqMan assay for a relative quantification of gene rearrangements, gene amplifications and micro gene deletions" (Ponchel F, et al. 3: art. no. 18, 2003; has been accessed more than 68,000 times from our site.

SW: Would you give us a brief history of the journal?

"BMC Biotechnology provides a platform for all applied research in biological macromolecules or organisms for use in experimental procedures, cellular and tissue engineering, or in the pharmaceutical, agricultural biotechnology, and allied industries."

BioMed Central was founded in 2000 as part of the Current Science Group (now Science Navigation Group, SNG) andBMC Biotechnology was one of the first journals to be launched as part of the BMC-series, supported by a small team of editorial in-house staff. BMC Biotechnology has now published over 500 peer-reviewed articles and received its first Impact Factor in 2006.

Through developing our internal processes we have been able to keep up with this growth, whilst continuing to improve our speed of decision-making with the invaluable knowledge and expertise of our Editorial Board. BMC Biotechnology now has a dedicated team of academic Associate Editors who are responsible for peer review, and they are supported by an in-house Executive Editor and a Journal Development Editor who focus on improving our processes and encouraging more and better submissions to the journal.

In September 2008 BioMed Central Ltd was acquired by Springer, the second-largest publisher of journals in the STM (Science, Technology, Medicine) sector, sending a strong signal that open access publishing is here to stay and is a viable and competitive business model. BioMed Central celebrated its 10th anniversary this year and we are looking forward to the next 10 years of open access publishing.

SW: What historical factors have contributed to the success of BMC Biotechnology?

BMC Biotechnology was one of the first open access journals and may well have gained a head start over competitors, as its publishing model has been embraced by scientists. Biotechnologists in particular have been very receptive to open access publishing, perhaps because of their familiarity with open source software, and it seems the move to "open access publishing" was a natural transition for this community to make.

We have always maintained a broad scope, and following this precedent, authors expect BMC Biotechnology to be inclusive. The involvement of Associate Editors with the journal in 2009 has influenced our editorial policies and enlivened interest from all corners of the community.

SW: Have there been specific developments in the fields served by BMC Biotechnology that may have contributed?

The rapid advance in technologies within genetic engineering, genomics, and molecular biology has doubtless contributed to the growth of BMC Biotechnology. In particular, the application of gene silencing and expression techniques and methods of macromolecule production are well covered in this journal.

SW: What, in your view, is this journal's main significance or contribution in the field of Biology & Biochemistry?

"BMC Biotechnology was one of the first open access journals and may well have gained a head start over competitors, as its publishing model has been embraced by scientists."

BMC Biotechnology provides a platform for all applied research in biological macromolecules or organisms for use in experimental procedures, cellular and tissue engineering, or in the pharmaceutical, agricultural biotechnology, and allied industries. By providing free access to research across this spectrum, we encourage our readers to synthesize the latest developments and promote innovation that spans disciplines and applications.

SW: How do you see your field(s) evolving in the next few years?

Our knowledge of biological systems and synthetic biology is a big part of a new wave of technology. There are also major advances in nanotechnology, such as for drug delivery, that will increasingly find applications in human health. The gap between experiment and disease intervention may also start to close for gene therapy. In the longer term, we should see an increased desire for biotechnology solutions in environmental science, as well as in food and fuel production.

SW: What role do you see for your journal?

BMC Biotechnology is an inter-disciplinary journal that serves a worldwide community. In 2011 we will be operating under an enhanced editorial structure with the appointment of academic Section Editors to head up different sections of the journal. The Section Editors will work with our Associate Editors during the peer-review process and with the Biology Editor and BioMed Central's editorial staff to develop the journal. Our in-house Editorial staff will also be working closely with our external Editors to maintain a rapid and fair service for our authors, so that new research is freely and accurately disseminated for the benefit of all.SW:

BMC Biotechnology
Helen Whitaker, Ph.D., Senior Journal Development Editor
BioMed Central, publishers

Web


BMC BIOTECHNOLOGY MOST CURRENT MOST-CITED PAPER IN ESSENTIAL SCIENCE INDICATORS:

Ibberson D, et al., "RNA degradation compromises the reliability of microRNA expression profiling," BMC Biotechnol. 9: art. no. 102, 21 December 2009 with 4 cites. Source:Essential Science Indicators from Clarivate Analytics.

KEYWORDS: BMC BIOTECHNOLOGY, IMPACT FACTOR, OPEN ACCESS ONLINE JOURNAL, HIGH-QUALITY METHODS, BIOMED CENTRAL JOURNAL SERIES, INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL, OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE, GENETIC ENGINEERING, GENOMICS, MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, GENE SILENCING, EXPRESSION TECHNIQUES, BIOLOGICAL MACROMOLECULES, APPLIED RESEARCH, NANOTECHNOLOGY, DRUG DELIVERY, GENE THERAPY, BIOTECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS.

 
 

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