Animal and human studies
Data integrity and plagiarism
Materials and data sharing
Conflict of interest
The 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.
The 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.
With numerous academic journals now in existence, why publish in The 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 http://jgp.rupress.org/content/133/2/129.full).
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 (see http://jgp.rupress.org/articles/most-cited), and we expect that articles published today will continue to be cited many years from now.
Research Articles should provide mechanistic insight into processes of broad physiological significance. No limits are imposed on the number of words or figures in Research Articles, and although they may be accompanied by supplemental materials, it should be possible to read and understand the article without consulting the supplemental materials.
Communications are intended for discoveries that are more narrowly focused, less mechanistically developed, or more descriptive in nature than work typically presented in Research Articles. Communications are usually shorter than Research Articles, but like Research Articles, no limits are imposed on the number of words or figures.
Methods and Approaches provide detailed information about techniques that may be used to investigate basic problems in physiology, using methods that are likely to be new or unfamiliar to the journal's readers. They 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.
Commentaries are short opinion pieces intended to highlight a notable research paper, or set of related papers, in the context of their field. They should be accessible to a broad audience of physiologists, including those outside the specific field of the highlighted article.
Milestones in Physiology provide a historical retrospective of particularly notable discoveries. Typically solicited by the editors, Milestones in Physiology are frequently published in conjunction with the anniversaries of major physiological findings.
Tutorials take a didactic approach to theoretical or experimental issues in physiology. They need not provide an in-depth evaluation of a field. Tutorials may provide a historical or 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.
Reviews are intended to 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 unique viewpoint of the author and describe how recent findings are driving forward current thinking in a field.
Perspectives are relatively brief articles on a common theme. Typically, several experts present brief—sometimes opposing—points of view concerning a scientific problem of current interest; they are published concurrently in one issue of the journal.
Viewpoints, like Perspectives or Reviews, present a summary and critical analysis of a scientific issue of current interest. Viewpoints are typically more sharply focused than Reviews and, as the name implies, specifically present the author's point of view.
Commentaries and Editorials will usually be reviewed only by the editors; Perspectives and Milestones in Physiology will also have one or more outside reviewers.
Research Articles, Communications, Methods and Approaches, Tutorials, Reviews, and Viewpoints 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 board. In some cases, a member of the editorial 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; requests to exempt certain individuals will be honored when possible and if the grounds for exclusion appear reasonable.
Except in special circumstances, manuscripts that fall within the following categories are unlikely to be considered: descriptive reports, in which no specific hypothesis is tested; manuscripts that primarily confirm findings that have already been established in other species; manuscripts that merely amplify a previous brief publication and contain no substantial new information.
Manuscripts that receive a complete review are carefully evaluated by the editors and guest editor, if one has been appointed, at the weekly editorial meetings. Decisions are made by the editors, who are guided by the reviewers' advice on, and their own judgment of, a manuscript's scientific merit, novelty, and mechanistic insight. Reviewers are offered the opportunity to read the other reviewers' reports and modify their recommendation accordingly prior to decisions being made. In addition, the editors sometimes enter into a dialogue with the reviewers if they require clarification on an important issue. Once a decision has been made, authors are provided with unambiguous instructions about the revisions that are required for publication 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 on 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 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 may be reviewed again, occasionally by new reviewers if the original reviewers are unavailable. 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 board members, before responding to the authors.
Manuscripts submitted by the Editor-in-Chief or Associate Editors
To avoid concerns of bias in the review of manuscripts submitted by the Editor-in-Chief or Associate Editors, such manuscripts are handled by a guest editor (usually a member of the editorial board). Manuscripts submitted by close collaborators of the Editor-in-Chief or Associate Editors are handled in a similar manner, as are those submitted by any former Editors or Associate Editors who left the position within the last three years. Manuscripts submitted by members of the editorial board will be treated in the same manner as any other manuscript.
The Editor-in-Chief and Consulting Editor are appointed by the Executive Director of The Rockefeller University Press. Associate Editors are appointed by the Editor-in-Chief, in consultation with the Consulting Editor, and editorial board members are appointed by the Editor-in-Chief in consultation with the Consulting Editor and Associate Editors. The Editor-in-Chief, Consulting Editor, 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 board. There is one annual editorial board meeting.
Reviewers are to contact the editor to discuss any potential conflicts of interest prior to accepting an invitation to peer review a manuscript. Reviewers are asked to comment on the level of conceptual advance and broad interest of the work, as well as the technical rigor, statistical analysis, and presentation of the manuscript. We ask that reviewers provide references where possible when describing overlap between the manuscript under consideration and past work done in the field, particularly when such overlap is suggested to undermine the novelty of the work under consideration. Reviewers will have the opportunity to see each other's comments and modify their own comments in response before a decision is made on a manuscript.
Reviewers are expected to provide critical yet respectful comments for authors. Reviewers are to treat information from an unpublished manuscript as confidential at all times. 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, this is to be indicated in the confidential comments to the editor, and we expect that the senior reviewer has independently evaluated the manuscript and approved 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.
An important part of JGP's mission is to nurture future generations of independent researchers through its postdoctoral training program. The editors of JGP proactively enlist postdoctoral scientists to act as reviewers for the journal, balancing their reports against "tried and tested" reviewers. When all the reports are received and the decisions sent, the editors provide constructive feedback to the postdoctoral reviewers if they feel it would be helpful.
Members of the postdoctoral training program might also be invited to participate in the JGP's focus groups. Focus groups are convened twice a year in the different areas covered by JGP's scope to discuss the journal's strengths, weaknesses, and future directions. Every focus group includes at least one postdoctoral member, and one of the agenda items will be to discuss what else can be done to support postdoctoral training.
The editors are happy to acknowledge a postdoctoral scientist's contributions to the journal for use in applications elsewhere. The journal also supports poster prizes consisting of iPad minis and subscriptions to the journal at key meetings throughout the year. To apply to join the programs, please send a cover letter and CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.