Why change the ASPB nomination process?

Dear ASPB colleagues,

This is a response to the negative reactions to the Council-approved ballot request to change the ASPB Constitution, and specifically those modifications that have to do with how individuals are placed on the election ballot. In retrospect we should have included with the ballot a link to information explaining the rationale for the proposed changes: lesson learned.

I detect a strong dose of confirmation bias in some of the comments I have read, reflecting the following assumption: an early career member is on the ballot this year because he got the most nominations; therefore the Constitution is being changed in ways that would allow a small group of individuals to prevent future EC members from participating in leadership. I normally would be opposed to providing the level of detail that I share below, but I feel that our members deserve this information.

Here are some facts and opinions from someone involved in crafting the change. Please read the whole document.

  1. We proposed this new approach because we think it is important for future Nominating Committee members to have greater flexibility. I strongly believe that people who are actually serving in elected leadership positions for ASPB will have a good idea of the time commitment, professional network and temperament required to be president-elect, president and past-president. You may have a different opinion and that is fine; we can agree to disagree.
  2. There was already a concern with the ‘highest number of nominations is one of the candidates’ approach because it is untenable. Prime evidence is that for the two years that I have been involved, individuals who were already serving in elected leadership positions received nominations.

Data: this year, current president-elect Judy Callis received three nominations despite already being in leadership. Last year I received three nominations (the largest number of nominations!) while president-elect, and Harry Klee received a nomination while President. Should I have been placed on the ballot last year so that I could potentially serve as president elect and president at the same time? The members would have revolted, and for good reason! Clearly this rule needed to be changed, and I wish we had started the process to try to change it last year.

  1. There seems to be a strong sense that the proposed change is intended to allow the old guard to protect their interests and keep young people off of the ballot in the future. In fact, this year Rishi Masalia did not receive the highest number of nominations, and thus would not have automatically been on the ballot. The nominating committee asked Rishi if he wished to have his name on the ballot to make it clear that we are open to change. I feel that this is evidence that members of the nominating committee – each of whom is directly elected by the membership – can be trusted.

No proposed changes to the Constitution make it to the ballot unless they are passed by a 2/3 majority of Council. That body passed the resolution to put the changes on the membership ballot by greater than the required margin, although not unanimously. Whether the membership passes the changes or not, we have already communicated to Council that we would ask them to discuss the pros and cons of different systems for future elections, although I would not be in favor of going ‘back’ to the current system (see point 2 above).

Final thoughts on our collective and individual futures.

  • The current tripartite (Council, BoD, BoT) governance system is burdensome and has not been implemented as effectively as I would like. We are working to establish a smoother implementation with regular phone conference calls of each group.
  • I am happy that we have members who are willing to share their thoughts. Okay, now the ‘but’: This is a good moment for introspection: in the future, please gather information before you type, give people the benefit of the doubt while you seek facts, and consider that you may be experiencing confirmation bias: we all are subject to this very human phenomenon.
  • In the future, if you are angry or doubtful about an action, think for a moment and then pick up the phone. Discussion and debate of consequential matters is far superior by synchronous communication than on social media.

If you wish to talk, please email me.

Sincerely,

Rob Last
ASPB President

 

Welcome to Sally Assmann, new Editor of The Plant Cell!

ASPB is very pleased to announce the appointment of Sally Assmann as the next Editor-in-Chief of The Plant Cell beginning January 1, 2020. She succeeds Sabeeha Merchant, whose term ends in December. Sally’s appointment at this time is particularly exciting, as it coincides with The Plant Cell’s 30th anniversary this year.

Sally is the Waller Professor of Biology at Penn State University. Her research interests focus on how plants sense and respond to stresses associated with climate change, particularly drought and high temperature. Sally has been a very engaged member of ASPB, serving on multiple committees and most notably as president of ASPB from 2009 to 2010.

Read more about Sally here and see the full press release here.  

The Top 5 Articles of The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology in 2018 Based on Altmetric Scores

Happy New Year!  My amazing boss, ASPB’s Director of Publications, Nancy Winchester, would tell me that one only says “Happy New Year” in January of a new year, but I am going to slide in a last one in honor of showcasing the TPC and PP articles with the highest Altmetric scores in 2018.

First of all, you might be wondering what an Altmetric score is.  Officially known as the “Altmetric Attention Score,” this tool measures the attention an article is receiving from a variety of sources (including but not limited to Twitter, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, news, post-publication peer reviews, policy documents, etc.).  To learn more about Altmetric, please go to www.altmetric.com.

We are delighted to announce these top 5 TPC articles, according to Altmetric score:

Let’s learn a bit more about these articles:

#1 The Plant Cell

Draft Assembly of Elite Inbred Line PH207 Provides Insights into Genomic and Transcriptome Diversity in Maize

http://www.plantcell.org/content/28/11/2700

November 2016

Altmetrics Score:  412

Candice N. Hirsch

Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108

Cory D. Hirsch

Department of Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108

Alex B. Brohammer

Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108

Megan J. Bowman

Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824

Ilya Soifer

Calico Labs, San Francisco, California 94080

Omer Barad

NRGENE Ltd., Ness-Ziona 7403648, Israel

Doron Shem-Tov

NRGENE Ltd., Ness-Ziona 7403648, Israel

Kobi Baruch

NRGENE Ltd., Ness-Ziona 7403648, Israel

Fei Lu

Instiute for Genome Diversity, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14850

Alvaro G. Hernandez

Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801

Christopher J. Fields

Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801

Chris L. Wright

Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801

Klaus Koehler

Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis, Indiana 46268

Nathan M. Springer

Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108

Edward Buckler

Instiute for Genome Diversity, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14850U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Services, Ithaca, New York 14850

Robin Buell

Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, East Lansing, Michigan 48824

Natalia de Leon

Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Shawn M. Kaeppler

Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Kevin L. Childs

Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824Center for Genomics-Enabled Plant Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824

Mark A. Mikel

Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801

#2 The Plant Cell

Morphogenic Regulators Baby boom and Wuschel Improve Monocot Transformation

http://www.plantcell.org/content/28/9/1998

September 2016

Altmetrics Score:  199

Keith Lowe

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Emily Wu

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Ning Wang

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

George Hoerster

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Craig Hastings

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Myeong-Je Cho

DuPont Pioneer, Hayward, California 94545

Chris Scelonge

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Brian Lenderts

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Mark Chamberlin

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Josh Cushatt

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Lijuan Wang

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Larisa Ryan

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Tanveer Khan

Fruhling Biosciences, West Marredpally, Secunderabad, Telangana 500026, India

Julia Chow-Yiu

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Wei Hua

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Maryanne Yu

DuPont Pioneer, Hayward, California 94545

Jenny Banh

DuPont Pioneer, Hayward, California 94545

Zhongmeng Bao

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Kent Brink

DuPont, DuPont Experimental Station, Wilmington, Delaware 19803

Elizabeth Igo

DuPont, DuPont Experimental Station, Wilmington, Delaware 19803

Bhojaraja Rudrappa

DuPont Knowledge Center, Hyderabad-500078, India

PM Shamseer

DuPont Knowledge Center, Hyderabad-500078, India

Wes Bruce

BASF Plant Science, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709

Lisa Newman

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Bo Shen

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Peizhong Zheng

Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis, Indiana 46268

Dennis Bidney

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Carl Falco

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Jim Register

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Zuo-Yu Zhao

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Deping Xu

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

Todd Jones

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

William Gordon-Kamm

DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa 50131

#3 The Plant Cell

Retrotransposons Control Fruit-Specific, Cold-Dependent Accumulation of Anthocyanins in Blood Oranges

http://www.plantcell.org/content/24/3/1242

March 2012

Altmetrics Score:  194

Eugenio Butelli

John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, United Kingdom

Concetta Licciardello

Centro di Ricerca per l’Agrumicoltura e le Colture Mediterranee, 95024 Acireale, Italy

Yang Zhang

John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, United Kingdom

Jianjun Liu

Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Chengdu City, Sichuan 610066, China

Steve Mackay

John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, United Kingdom

Paul Bailey

John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, United Kingdom

Giuseppe Reforgiato-Recupero

Centro di Ricerca per l’Agrumicoltura e le Colture Mediterranee, 95024 Acireale, Italy

Cathie Martin

John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, United Kingdom

#4 The Plant Cell

TEOSINTE BRANCHED1 Regulates Inflorescence Architecture and Development in Bread Wheat (Triticum aestivum)

http://www.plantcell.org/content/30/3/563

March 2018

Altmetrics Score:  191

Laura E. Dixon

Department of Crop Genetics, John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, United Kingdom

Julian R. Greenwood

CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

Stefano Bencivenga

Department of Crop Genetics, John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, United Kingdom

Peng Zhang

Plant Breeding Institute, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, Cobbitty, NSW 2570, Australia

James Cockram

John Bingham Laboratory, National Institute of Agricultural Botany, Cambridge CB3 0LE, United Kingdom

Gregory Mellers

John Bingham Laboratory, National Institute of Agricultural Botany, Cambridge CB3 0LE, United Kingdom

Kerrie Ramm

CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

Colin Cavanagh

CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

Steve M. Swain

CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

Scott A. Boden

Department of Crop Genetics, John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, United Kingdom

#5 The Plant Cell

Functional Characterization of a Glycosyltransferase from the Moss Physcomitrella patens Involved in the Biosynthesis of a Novel Cell Wall Arabinoglucan

http://www.plantcell.org/content/30/6/1293

June 2018

Altmetrics Score:  190

Alison W. Roberts

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island 02881

Jelle Lahnstein

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, School of Agriculture, Food, and Wine, University of Adelaide, Urrbrae, South Australia 5064, Australia

Yves S.Y. Hsieh

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, School of Agriculture, Food, and Wine, University of Adelaide, Urrbrae, South Australia 5064, Australia

Xiaohui Xing

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, School of Agriculture, Food, and Wine, University of Adelaide, Urrbrae, South Australia 5064, AustraliaDivision of Glycoscience, Department of Chemistry, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology, and Health, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm SE-10691, Sweden

Kuok Yap

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, School of Agriculture, Food, and Wine, University of Adelaide, Urrbrae, South Australia 5064, Australia

Arielle M. Chaves

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island 02881

Tess R. Scavuzzo-Duggan

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island 02881

George Dimitroff

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, School of Agriculture, Food, and Wine, University of Adelaide, Urrbrae, South Australia 5064, Australia

Andrew Lonsdale

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, Plant Cell Biology Research Centre, School of BioSciences, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia

Eric Roberts

Biology Department, Rhode Island College, Providence, Rhode Island 02908

Vincent Bulone

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, School of Agriculture, Food, and Wine, University of Adelaide, Urrbrae, South Australia 5064, AustraliaDivision of Glycoscience, Department of Chemistry, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology, and Health, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm SE-10691, Sweden

Geoffrey B. Fincher

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, School of Agriculture, Food, and Wine, University of Adelaide, Urrbrae, South Australia 5064, Australia

Monika S. Doblin

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, Plant Cell Biology Research Centre, School of BioSciences, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia

Antony Bacic

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, Plant Cell Biology Research Centre, School of BioSciences, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia

Antony Bacic

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, Plant Cell Biology Research Centre, School of BioSciences, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia

Now for the top 5 PP articles, according to Altmetric score, for 2018:

Here’s the 4-1-1 on the top PP articles:

#1 Plant Physiology

Identification of Novel Growth Regulators in Plant Populations Expressing Random Peptides

http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/175/2/619

October 2017

Altmetric Score:  194

Zhilong Bao

Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611

Maureen A. Clancy

Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611

Raquel F. Carvalho

Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611

Kiona Elliott

Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611

Kevin M. Folta

Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611Graduate Program in Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611

#2 Plant Physiology

The Next Generation of Training for Arabidopsis Researchers: Bioinformatics and Quantitative Biology

http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/175/4/1499

December 2017

Altmetric Score:  154

Joanna Friesner

Agricultural Sustainability Institute and Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, University of California, Davis, California 95616

Sarah M. Assmann

Biology Department, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802

Ruth Bastow

GARNet, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AT, United Kingdom

Julia Bailey-Serres

Center for Plant Cell Biology, Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside, California 92521

Jim Beynon

School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, United Kingdom

Volker Brendel

Department of Biology and Department of Computer Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405

Robin Buell

Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824

Alexander Bucksch

Department of Plant Biology, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and Institute of Bioinformatics, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602

Wolfgang Busch

Gregor Mendel Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna Biocenter, 1030 Vienna, Austria; Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California 92037

Taku Demura

Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Nara 630-0192, Japan; RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, Yokohama, Kanagawa 230-0045, Japan

Jose R. Dinneny

Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, California 94305

Colleen J. Doherty

Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695

Andrea L. Eveland

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, Missouri 63132

Pascal Falter-Braun

Institute of Network Biology, Department of Environmental Science, Helmholtz Zentrum München, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany

Malia A. Gehan

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, Missouri 63132

Michael Gonzales

Center for Applied Genetic Technologies, Athens, Georgia 30602

Erich Grotewold

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824

Rodrigo Gutierrez

FONDAP Center for Genome Regulation, Millennium Nucleus Center for Plant Systems and Synthetic Biology, Departamento de Genética Molecular y Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile 8331150

Ute Kramer

Molecular Genetics and Physiology of Plants, Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Ruhr University Bochum, 44801 Bochum, Germany

Gabriel Krouk

Laboratoire de Biochimie et Physiologie Moléculaire des Plantes, CNRS, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro, Université Montpellier, Institut de Biologie Intégrative des Plantes “Claude Grignon,” Place Viala, 34060 Montpellier cedex, France

Shisong Ma

School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui 230027, China

R.J. Cody Markelz

Department of Plant Biology, University of California, Davis, California 95616

Molly Megraw

Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Department of Computer Science, and Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331

Blake C. Meyers

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, Missouri 63132; Division of Plant Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211

James A.H. Murray

School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AX, Wales, United Kingdom

Nicholas J. Provart

Department of Cell and Systems Biology/Centre for the Analysis of Genome Evolution and Function, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3B2, Canada

Sue Rhee

Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, California 94305

Roger Smith

Syngenta Crop Protection, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709

Edgar P. Spalding

Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Crispin Taylor

American Society of Plant Biologists, Rockville, Maryland 20855

Tracy K. Teal

Data Carpentry, Davis, California 95616

Keiko U. Torii

Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195

Chris Town

Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, Maryland 20850

Matthew Vaughn

Life Sciences Computing, Texas Advanced Computing Center, Austin, Texas 78758

Richard Vierstra

Department of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri 63130

Doreen Ware

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724; U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Ithaca, New York 14853

Olivia Wilkins

Department of Plant Science, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H9X 3V9, Canada

Cranos Williams

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695

Siobhan M. Brady

Department of Plant Biology, Genome Center, University of California, Davis, California 95616

#3 Plant Physiology

Advances in Imaging Plant Cell Dynamics

http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/176/1/80

January 2018

Altmetrics Score:  134

George Komis

Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc, 783 71 Olomouc, Czech Republic

Dominik Novák

Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc, 783 71 Olomouc, Czech Republic

Miroslav Ovečka

Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc, 783 71 Olomouc, Czech Republic

Olga Šamajová

Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc, 783 71 Olomouc, Czech Republic

Jozef Šamaj

Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc, 783 71 Olomouc, Czech Republic

#4 Plant Physiology

Image-Based High-Throughput Field Phenotyping of Crop Roots

http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/166/2/470

October 2014

Altmetrics Score:  106

Alexander Bucksch

Schools of Biology (A.B., A.D. J.S.W.), Interactive Computing (A.B.), and Physics (J.S.W.), Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332

James Burridge

Larry M. York

Abhiram Das

Eric Nord

Joshua S. Weitz

Jonathan P. Lynch

#5 Plant Physiology

Light Modulates the Biosynthesis and Organization of Cyanobacterial Carbon Fixation Machinery through Photosynthetic Electron Flow

http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/171/1/530

May 2016

Altmetrics Score:  98

Yaqi Sun

Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZB, United Kingdom  (Y.S., S.C., Y.F., F.H., M.F., L.-N.L.)

Selene Casella

Yi Fang

Fang Huang

Matthew Faulkner

Steve Barrett

Lu-Ning Liu

 

Our staff works hard to compile these data throughout the year, so keep an eye on Plantae, Twitter, and Facebook to see top articles for 2019.  Many thanks to Suzanne Cholwek, Nan Eckardt, Linda Palmer, and Mary Williams for scrutinizing these scores so closely on behalf of our community.

We appreciate our authors, editors, reviewers, readers, and supporters so much.  Cheers to a wonderful 2019 for all!  And for the last time this year: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Best wishes,

Jennifer Regala, Managing Editor, The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology

Email: jregala@aspb.org

Twitter: @JRegala_ASPB

What Do YOU Want to Ask the Next Editor-in-Chief of The Plant Cell?

We have been charged by ASPB to conduct a search for the next Editor-in-Chief of The Plant Cell.  Back in March of this year, we began the search process by meeting as a group to discuss potential candidates for this important role.  We invited candidates and issued a call for nominations to the community. CVs were requested from a number of your colleagues, and from that group several scientists were asked to submit a vision statement for us to review.  We have reviewed the vision statements carefully and are ready to move on to our next phase in the selection process: telephone interviews with a handful of finalists.

Now, we need YOUR help.  It is important to ASPB that we select an Editor-in-Chief who builds on The Plant Cell’s rich history of serving the global plant science community.  The Plant Cell, ASPB’s flagship journal, publishes novel research of special significance in plant biology, especially in the areas of cellular biology, molecular biology, genetics, development, and evolution.  The next Editor-in-Chief will succeed Dr. Sabeeha Merchant, whose term ends in December 2019.  Dr. Merchant has been a strong and visionary leader of the journal, introducing many innovative changes including publishing open peer review reports and growing and strengthening the Editorial Board.  The scholarly publishing industry is in the midst of many innovations and changes: open access mandates, artificial intelligence, reassessment of journal impact factors and other metrics, and preprints, to name just a few.  The new Editor-in-Chief will play a central role in determining how The Plant Cell evolves to continue its role as a leader in the field while adjusting to the ever-changing publishing landscape.

What do YOU believe are important qualities and perspectives to look for in our next Editor-in-Chief?  We invite you to provide our committee with the questions you would like us to ask the Editor-in-Chief finalists.  You can suggest these questions by commenting on this blog post and/or tweeting them, using hashtag #TPCEiCSearch2018.  We look forward to involvement from our authors, readers, membership, community leaders, and any interested individuals.  We very much want to hear from you.

We recognize the value of The Plant Cell to our plant community and to ASPB’s membership.  Having each one of you participate in the process is key to continuing the legacy of The Plant Cell well into the future. Thank you all for your help.

Sincerely,

EIC Search Committee
Neil Olszewski (Chair)
Rob Last (President)
Katayoon Dehesh
Pamela Hines
Steve Theg

ASPB and Open Peer Review

It’s #PeerReviewWeek18! What better time than now to blog about how two of ASPB’s journals (The Plant Cell and Plant Direct) have approached open peer review?

On August 29, 2018, Nature published a Comment titled “Publish Peer Reviews” (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06032-w).  This Comment references an open letter (http://asapbio.org/letter) signed by two of ASPB’s own: the Editor-in-Chief of The Plant Cell, Sabeeha Merchant, and the Editor-in-Chief of Plant Direct, Ivan Baxter.  The letter also bears the signatures of those journals supporting some level of open peer review.

HOW and WHY did The Plant Cell and Plant Direct come to support open peer review?

When considering adopting open peer review for a journal, there are many questions to ask:

  1. What are the costs involved?
  2. What is required of the journal’s staff?
  3. What does the journal’s editorial board think?
  4. How will your organization define “open peer review”?
  5. Will sharing these reports be a condition of reviewers and/or authors of publishing in the journal?
  6. What are the journal’s competitors doing?

Plant Direct (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/24754455; @PlantDirectJ) is an open access, sound science journal published by Wiley on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology and the American Society of Plant Biologists. Ivan Baxter, Plant Direct’s Editor-in-Chief, said the following in response to why the journal supports open peer review:

“This is who we are, and this is what we are doing.”

Plant Direct posts peer review reports for each research article it publishes.  Peer review reports are not completely open because reviewers remain anonymous.  Peer review reports do not publish until a paper is accepted.  Plant Direct chose to publish these reports for the following reasons:

  • To provide transparency and a clear record re: publication decisions and how criteria are applied in this process
  • To use as mentoring/teaching tools
  • To change the culture of peer review; in theory, this open record allows progress to continue and be checked

Plant Direct’s peer review reports are not edited in any way.  It is a condition for both authors and reviewers of the journal that all peer review reports, without exception, will be published.  Wiley is developing tracking tools to evaluate downloads and usage of peer review reports.

Plant Direct uploads a peer review report as part of the article’s “Supporting Information,” as shown:

Following is a sample of actual Editors Comments from Plant Direct:

The Plant Cell announced its decision to adopt a form of open peer review in an October 2016 editorial by Editor-in-Chief Sabeeha Merchant (http://www.plantcell.org/content/28/10/2343). An excerpt from Dr. Merchant’s editorial reads:

“Reviewer anonymity will be strictly maintained. The reports will include the major comments from reviewers and the editors’ decision letters along with the authors’ response to reviewers for each submission of the manuscript (including original, revised, and previously declined versions), as well as a timeline documenting the path of the manuscript from submission to publication. The decision letters typically include the substance of comments from any post-review consultation among editors and reviewers.”

The Plant Cell made the decision to support open peer review for the following reasons:

  • To demonstrate transparency in the review process and the criteria used for evaluating papers
  • To use for journal club discussions
  • To use as training tools for students/post-doctoral researchers and professionals in the early stages of their careers

In her editorial, Dr. Merchant stated that feedback and access/download statistics would be monitored for a period of 2 years as a pilot project (ending in October of 2018).  Although feedback suggests that these reports are being used, we at ASPB continue to work with HighWire, our online content host, to determine usage statistics.  The challenge has been that the peer review reports are included with all other Supplemental Data, so it is difficult to target peer review report usage on its own.

The Plant Cell uses the following procedures to handle open peer review:

  • Invitations to review a manuscript include information about the peer review report
  • Reviewers remain anonymous in peer review reports (the editorial board believes that anonymity is integral to this process)
  • After manuscript acceptance by the reviewing editor, a peer review report is prepared by the science editor handling the paper (WITH author approval). Science editors are paid per report (compilation, formatting, posting of report)
  • Reports follow a standard format and are lightly edited (to remove miscellaneous correspondence, for instance); authors APPROVE their reports

What does a peer review report look like in The Plant Cell?

Please reach out to me (jregala@aspb.org; @JRegala_ASPB) with your questions and thoughts.

Jennifer Regala, Managing Editor, The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology

Follow along as ASPB’s Managing Editor “takes over” SSPA’s Twitter handle!

Back in November of 2017, the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) announced its involvement in launching the Scientific Society Publisher Alliance (SSPA; https://plantae.org/aspb-joins-with-other-societies-to-launch-the-scientific-society-publisher-alliance-sspa/).  SSPA (www.byscientistsforscience.org) adopted and adheres to this mission statement, which reads:

“The Scientific Society Publisher Alliance (SSPA) is dedicated to identifying and disseminating vital scientific research, by scientists for science. Our not-for-profit member societies provide authors with the opportunity to have their work validated by peers in a fair manner for publication in a prestigious journal managed by working scientists. By reinvesting in the community, the members of the SSPA are committed to delivering important discoveries worldwide.”

Over the past few months, the SSPA member societies have taken turns hosting the organization’s Twitter account.  My colleagues from other scientific societies have done an amazing job of touting SSPA and also allowing SSPA’s Twitter followers to learn more about their own societies.  I have loved hearing their perspectives on the importance SSPA plays in scholarly publishing while learning more about my colleagues and the societies they represent.

Now it’s my turn!  As the Managing Editor of The Plant Cell (www.tpc.org) and Plant Physiology (www.plantphysiol.org) at the American Society of Plant Biologists, I will represent ASPB as the “guest tweeter” for SSPA (@SSPAjournals).  As I tweet on behalf of SSPA, I am so excited to share all of the wonderful work we do here at ASPB for our membership and for our authors.  From our journals to our digital ecosystem, Plantae, to our membership department, to our meetings department, to our public affairs department… I promise that you will want to learn more about ASPB.  Please also follow @aspb, @plantcell, @plantphysiol, @plantae_org, and me, @JRegala_ASPB, so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!

During my “my turn at the wheel,” I intend to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of ASPB.  What are open peer review reports, and does ASPB support them?  How does ASPB plan to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Plant Cell?  How have first author profiles been wildly successful and flourished since they were started?  What is science editing, and how do ASPB’s journals use this important tool?  What is the Plantae digital ecosystem, and how it does it interact with ASPB’s journals?  How are early career professionals getting the opportunity to serve on the editorial boards of ASPB’s journals?  These are only a few of the exciting subjects I will share with you.

Be sure to follow SSPA’s Twitter handle, @SSPAjournals and the hashtag #byscientistsforscience to learn more about SSPA, its membership, and most importantly, the authors and scientists we all work hard to represent.

Please feel free to tweet me (@JRegala_ASPB) or email me (jregala@aspb.org) if you would like to learn more about ASPB, our journals, or SSPA.  Is there something special you would like me to address?  Let me know!  Do you want more information about any of our initiatives?  Please reach out to me!

2017 SURFers Share Their Research Experiences

Still on the fence about applying for an ASPB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) award? A few of our 2017 SURF recipients shared how they spent their summer of research.

Angus Rae, a student at University of Newcastle, filmed a video explaining a new research technique where polarized light is used to measure the angle of cellulose micro-fibrils within plant cell walls. This research is being developed by Angus and his colleagues with support from the SURF program.

Radford University student Tayler Lewis started a blog to document her SURF experience, with week by week recaps of her research.  She also had the opportunity to visit a local school with her mentor to share her love of plant science with students on Fascination of Plants Day! Below, Tayler challenges a student to think about items in the home that are made of plants.

The deadline to apply for a SURF award is March 15, 2018. Learn more and apply at http://surf.aspb.org