The expectations for scientific publishing and publications are changing rapidly and the Journal of Heredity is staying apace. Since 2008, we have adopted fully electronic submission through ScholarOne Manuscripts (http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/joh), dramatically reducing the time for editorial review and publication production. In 2012, the average time to first decision was 34.6 days, and the time from acceptance to electronic print can be as brief as 25 days. Manuscripts receiving favorable reviews and rapid, conscientious revisions by authors can appear on Advance Access (online early) in under 3 months from first submission. Over the last few years, we have also raised the impact factor and the ranking of the Journal, as well as increasing the exposure of our authors through media releases of selected articles. In keeping with the requirements of some granting agencies, the Journal provides the option for Open Access publication at a cost similar to that of most other print journals. More importantly for most authors, Journal of Heredity allows free electronic access to all articles 1 year after publication, and offers free or deeply discounted subscriptions to more than 1700 institutions in the developing world. This free or discounted access is possible because the American Genetic Association (AGA), as a scholarly society, is committed to enhancing open communication of scientific research rather than to commercial profit (Noor 2012).
The AGA and Journal of Heredity have also been active in supporting recent initiatives to improve data archiving (Whitlock 2011). The AGA recognizes that the primary data underlying the conclusions of an article are critical to the verifiability and transparency of the scientific enterprise. With the advent of electronic archiving, these data can now be preserved in usable form for decades into the future. For this reason, Journal of Heredity has previously endorsed the principles of the Joint Data Archiving Policy (JDAP, http://datadryad.org/pages/jdap) by encouraging all authors to archive primary data in an appropriate public archive, on a voluntary basis. By agreement of the AGA Council, we are updating the Journal’s Instructions to Authors to conform with the expectation of mandatory data archiving adopted by other leading journals in evolution and genetics (Moore et al. 2010; Whitlock et al. 2010). As of 1 January 2013, the primary data underlying the analyses and conclusions of a manuscript must be submitted to a public archive as a condition of publication in Journal of Heredity. This requirement now includes “nontraditional” data sources, such as microsatellite genotypes and quantitative trait loci, in addition to nucleotide and protein sequences, which for some time have had to be submitted to GenBank and similar archives.
To assist authors, Journal of Heredity has joined as a subscribing member to the Dryad electronic repository (http://datadryad.org/), a searchable archive suitable for deposition of most data associated with articles published by the Journal. There is no cost to the authors for Dryad submission. As well as fulfilling the primary obligations of verifiability and transparency in the scientific enterprise, the searchable DOIs associated with Dryad submissions are linked to their primary publications, and have the potential to increase the citation of articles and their authors. Authors may elect to have data publicly available at time of publication or may opt to embargo access to data for a period up to 1 year after publication. Exceptions may be granted at the discretion of the editor, especially for sensitive information, such as the location of endangered species.
In adopting the JDAP, the AGA recognizes the investment of individual researchers in generating and curating large data sets and the right of “first use” by the data providers. Consequently, we recommend that the investments of data providers be respected in secondary or meta-analyses in a gracious collaborative spirit. This could include notification of the intent to use archived data, or offers of coauthorship where data sets represent a substantial component of secondary or meta-analyses.