ASCB Statement on the Future of Publishing

The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) Executive Committee and Council have been in active discussions about the future of scholarly publishing as we explore how we can help our members and other cell biologists share the results of their research. In the past several years there have been many new developments in publishing that are affecting our members and our society’s scientific journal, including the launch of bioRxiv, the proliferation of competing journals in related topical areas, and, most recently, the proposed Plan S, which would mandate immediate open access publishing of research supported by a group of European funders. The changes in publishing that Plan S would bring to the scientific community are significant and have particular implications for society publishers that require careful, thoughtful consideration.

We, the undersigned members of the ASCB Council, would like to reiterate the values we think are critical to success in publishing for ASCB.

  • We value systems that make it easy for authors to publish in a timely fashion. This is critically important for all scientists, but particularly impacts early-career scientists who need publications in order to advance in their careers.
  • We value journals that make their articles accessible to wider audiences. There are a variety of mechanisms that may achieve this, including open access journal publishing, pre-print archives, and open access repositories.
  • We believe that high-quality, constructive peer review is critical to a robust scientific enterprise.
  • We value professional copyediting and accessible data archiving.

Currently. we strive to meet these values in our own journal, Molecular Biology of the Cell, which has a median review period of 27 days until a first decision, a short embargo period of 2 months, and a member-led peer review process. However, the changing landscape in publishing provides an opportunity to see if we can better meet our values through new approaches to publishing. We are currently discussing and considering how the Society can continue to follow our core principles, adapt to and experiment in the rapidly changing landscape in scientific publishing, all while maintaining a sustainable business model.

We welcome your input on what you view is important in publishing. We know that this is a contentious issue and that there are a wide variety of opinions. We hope you will reach out to share your thoughts. You can send them to us via with the subject line “Future of Publishing.”


Andrew Murray, ASCB President
Jodi Nunnari, Past President
Eva Nogales, President-Elect
Gary Gorbsky, Treasurer
Kerry Bloom, Secretary
Angelika Amon
Michael Ehlers
Robert Goldstein
Erika Holzbaur
Anna Huttenlocher
Janet Iwasa
George Langford
Karen Oegema
Omar Quintero
Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado
Erika Shugart, CEO



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