Neu: Molecular Systems Biology – a first in systems biology publishing

(16.05.2005) The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and Nature Publishing Group (NPG) announce the launch of Molecular Systems Biology. This new online journal aims to fill a gap in the current literature. The first journal to be dedicated solely to the emerging fields of molecular systems biology and synthetic biology, Molecular Systems Biology is also the first publication to implement pioneering new systems biology technologies in the presentation of articles and their associated data. 

Molecular Systems Biology Molecular Systems Biology publishes papers describing the properties and behavior of complex biological systems in terms of molecular components and their interactions. The scope extends to functional genomics, structural genomics, metabolomics and synthetic biology. Early published papers include:

A global view of pleiotropy and phenotypically derived gene function in yeast
A coherent feed-forward loop with a SUM input function prolongs flagella expression in Escherichia coli
Integrative analysis of genome-wide experiments in the context of a large high-throughput data compendium.

The journal also represents a first in technology. Unlike other journals in the field, Molecular Systems Biology uses innovative technology to allow formal, unambiguous descriptions of biological systems and the sharing of related data sets. This enables readers to use data for their own experiments and simulations, and encourages collaboration. Molecular Systems Biology is currently the only journal in the field to accommodate authors submitting data sets in Systems Biology Mark-Up Language (SBML) and CellML, widely-used XML-based exchange formats for representing biological processes and communicating related data. Users can import SBML or CellML files and run their own simulations, or use the data in other relevant applications. In addition, Molecular Systems Biology will be the first NPG journal to host figures with Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), a language for describing two-dimensional graphics and graphical applications in XML.

Molecular Systems Biology also aims to provide a forum for dialogue within the community on standards for data quality, format and exchange. The journal features a ‘Feedback Forum’ to encourage users to comment on published articles and data. Both authors and Senior Editors will respond to comments, creating a dynamic platform for constructive debate.  Each debate will be moderated by the in-house editorial team based at EMBO and will be citable through a unique DOI. The team of highly regarded Senior Editors comprises Ruedi Aebersold, Peer Bork, George Church, Leroy Hood and Edison Liu. These Senior Editors are supported by an in-house Editor, Astrid Lunkes, based at the EMBO offices in Heidelberg.

Molecular Systems Biology is an open-access journal – another first for EMBO and NPG and an important catalyst for data-sharing. Publication costs will be met, in part, by a publication charge for each accepted article. The charge of £1700 () per article can be waived for authors who can justify that they are unable to bear the costs of publication, and also for authors from low-income countries.

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