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Editorial 2015

Michael Hassell Honorary Principal Research Fellow, Imperial College London

Editorial Cite this article: Hassell M. 2015 Editorial 2015. Proc. R. Soc. B 282: 20142696.

My reign as Editor-in-Chief has gone quickly. It has been an absorbing task and a wonderful opportunity to keep up with a lot of fascinating things going on in Biology. Although there are over 3000 papers submitted a year, the fantastic support from the team at the Royal Society and the other Editors has meant that the process runs smoothly and is never a burden. I would like, in particular, to single out the Publishing Editors for Proceedings B that I have worked with during my tenure; first Vicki Millen, then Emilie Aime´, and most recently Rhiannon Meaden. Their efficiency and all round support, helped by their Royal Society teams (thanks, Buchi and Jennifer!), has been remarkable. The past 6 years have seen Proceedings B go from strength to strength. We have seen a substantial 65% growth in submissions since 2008. As space in the journal is limited, there has also been a corresponding increase in our rejection rate from 77% in 2008 to 86% last year. Our citation metrics have seen steady improvement, and the 2013 impact factor stands at 5.29 from a 2007 impact factor of 4.11. The journal’s 5 year impact factor and Eigenfactor have also improved, from 4.70 to 5.80 and 0.10376 to 0.09342, respectively. Full details of our current metrics can be found on the journal’s website (http:// One of the journal aims over my term has been to increase the geographical spread of submissions, which have traditionally been heavily biased towards the UK and North America. Submissions from countries outside these two core areas have increased from 54% to 59% and this is something the journal will be looking to continue. Over the past years it has been rewarding to see the range of excellent content in the Journal, with the most highly cited article being a review by Marcel Visser on how well populations are adapting to climate change, from the 2008 Special Issue on the evolutionary dynamics of wild populations [1]. Unsurprisingly, highly cited papers have tended to be those giving insights into human impact [2,3] on the natural world and those using state-of-the-art molecular techniques to gain new insights into species evolution [4,5]. Every year up to 2010, Proceedings B published a special issue collecting articles on a particularly important topic within the biological sciences. From 2011 onwards we replaced this with a special feature, made up of a collection of articles within an issue. This year’s special feature focused on the evolutionary ecology of specialization and was guest edited by Jana Vamosi, Scott Armbruster and Susanne Renner. Articles in the feature use state-of-the-art techniques within a diverse set of biological systems to look at how specialists evolve. The evolution of specialist plants [6,7], butterflies [8], fish [9,10] and amphibians [11] is all investigated. Previous article collections have focused on such diverse topics as the genomics of adaptation [12] and advances in Chinese palaeontology [13]. All article collections are freely available. The Journal has a tradition of publishing many excellent review articles, thanks, in large part, to great Reviews Editors; first Charles Godfray, followed by Mike Siva Jothy, and now Per Lundberg who took over the role last year. As well as reviews in our traditional areas of ecology and evolution [1,14,15], one of our most interesting and accessible reviews was published in 2011 and looked at the biological aspects of stem cells as a therapeutic tool for the blind [16]. This year has been no exception in terms of review quality, with reviews as diverse as an examination of the natural science evidence base concerning neonicotinoid insecticide use [17], to mainstreaming Caenorhabditis elegans in experimental evolution [18]. The past six years have seen many changes in the publishing world and Proceedings B has worked hard to stay at the forefront of these. In 2008, we

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References 1.






Visser ME. 2008 Keeping up with a warming world: assessing the rate of adaptation to climate change. Proc. R. Soc. B 275, 649 –659. (doi:10.1098/rspb. 2007.0997) Wood HL, Spicer JI, Widdicombe S. 2008 Ocean acidification may increase calcification rates, but at a cost. Proc. R. Soc. B 275, 1767 –1773. (doi:10.1098/ rspb.2008.0343) Urban MC, Tewksbury JJ, Sheldon KS. 2012 On a collision course: competition and dispersal differences create no-analogue communities and cause extinctions during climate change. Proc. R. Soc. B 279, 2072–2080. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.2367) Hejnol A et al. 2009 Assessing the root of bilaterian animals with scalable phylogenomic methods. Proc. R. Soc. B 276, 4261 –4270. (doi:10.1098/rspb. 2009.0896) Burki F, Okamoto N, Pombert J-F, Keeling PJ. 2012 The evolutionary history of haptophytes and cryptophytes: phylogenomic evidence for separate origins. Proc. R. Soc. B 279, 2246– 2254. (doi:10. 1098/rspb.2011.2301) Anderson B, Ros P, Wiese TJ, Ellis AG. 2014 Intraspecific divergence and convergence of floral tube length in specialized pollination interactions. Proc. R. Soc. B 281, 20141420. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.1420)

Abrahamczyk S, Souto-Vilaro´s D, Renner SS. 2014 Escape from extreme specialization: passionflowers, bats and the sword-billed hummingbird. Proc. R. Soc. B 281, 20140888. (doi:10.1098/rspb. 2014.0888) 8. Hardy NB, Otto SP. 2014 Specialization and generalization in the diversification of phytophagous insects: tests of the musical chairs and oscillation hypotheses. Proc. R. Soc. B 281, 20132960. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.2960) 9. Muschick M, Nosil P, Roesti M, Dittmann MT, Harmon L, Salzburger W. 2014 Testing the stages model in the adaptive radiation of cichlid fishes in East African Lake Tanganyika. Proc. R. Soc. B 281, 20140605. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.0605) 10. Litsios G, Kostikova A, Salamin N. 2014 Host specialist clownfishes are environmental niche generalists. Proc. R. Soc. B 281, 20133220. (doi:10. 1098/rspb.2013.3220) 11. Bonetti MF, Wiens JJ. 2014 Evolution of climatic niche specialization: a phylogenetic analysis in amphibians. Proc. R. Soc. B 281, 20133229. (doi:10. 1098/rspb.2013.3229) 12. Radwan J, Babik W. 2012 The genomics of adaptation. Proc. R. Soc. B 279, 5024– 5028. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2012.2322) 7.

13. Xu D, Luo Z-X, Rong J-Y. 2010 Recent advances in Chinese palaeontology. Proc. R. Soc. B 277, 161–164. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.1668) 14. Stewart JR, Lister AM, Barnes I, Dale´n L. 2010 Refugia revisited: individualistic responses of species in space and time. Proc. R. Soc. B 277, 661 –671. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.1272) 15. Spurgin LG, Richardson DS. 2010 How pathogens drive genetic diversity: MHC, mechanisms and misunderstandings. Proc. R. Soc. B 277, 979 –988. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.2084) 16. Singh MS, MacLaren RE. 2011 Stem cells as a therapeutic tool for the blind: biology and future prospects. Proc. R. Soc. B 278, 3009–3016. (doi:10. 1098/rspb.2011.1028) 17. Godfray HCJ, Blacquie`re T, Field LM, Hails RS, Petrokofsky G, Potts SG, Raine NE, Vanbergen AJ, McLean AR. 2014 A restatement of the natural science evidence base concerning neonicotinoid insecticides and insect pollinators. Proc. R. Soc. B 281, 20140558. (doi:10.1098/rspb. 2014.0558) 18. Gray JC, Cutter AD. 2014 Mainstreaming Caenorhabditis elegans in experimental evolution. Proc. R. Soc. B 281, 20133055. (doi:10.1098/rspb. 2013.3055)


Proc. R. Soc. B 282: 20142696

authors to adhere to, we have integrated our submission system with the Dryad repository, so that submission of supporting data is as straightforward as possible. In short, Proceedings B is firmly established as one of the premier journals in Biology, and I have no doubt that it will continue to build upon this under the leadership of the new Editor-in-Chief, Spencer Barrett FRS; it was great news that he agreed to take on the role. He will be supported by six other, very committed, Editors with wide experience of the Journal, and of course a large board of Associate Editors who do such a fantastic job in making recommendations to the Editors. To all of these, many thanks.

introduced Open Access publication as an option in the journal, and last year we published over 100 open access articles, which is more than any previous year. The move to continuous online publication at the beginning of 2013 from the more traditional publish-ahead-of-print model has also been an important development and has meant that authors’ work is published online in a citable form as soon as it is ready, rather than having to wait for the close of an issue. In line with the needs of the community, our open data policies have also developed and now state that all supporting data should be made freely available to allow full reproducibility of results. In order to make this easier for

Editorial 2015.

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