April 1, as many of you know, was April Fool's Day, an unofficial holiday that may have begun in 1564 when France reformed their calendar. Although Julius Caesar set January 1 as the start of the year, there was a scattered movement throughout Europe to move the date to one of more theological significance, such as around Easter, and by the 16th century the situation was untenable. Once the calendar was reformed, those who continued to celebrate the new year between March 25 and April 1st were dubbed Poisson d’Avril (perhaps having something to do with Pisces) and the tradition transformed into April Fools. It's a theory. (Some scholars note that Chaucer wrote Chanticleer's story to take place on the 32nd day of March, and others trace the day to a post-deluvian, but ante-dovian, crow sent out by Noah to find dry land on this date). But we’ll go with the first idea, and say Happy New Year. At least, a new beginning.
But that was yesterday, and I awoke today to find myself in the position of being the new Editor-in-Chief for Oncogene. I thought it was a dream, but apparently not.
First and foremost, welcome. If somehow this is your first foray into this journal, let me introduce you to a journal with a 20+ year history of bringing to light important contributions pertaining to the molecular basis of cancer and related phenomena. We’ll come back to this in a little bit, but for now we will file it away under ‘scope’. I suspect, though, that you are already familiar with this wonderful weekly, whether as a regular reader, occasional browser and/or sometime author. In these cases, welcome back.
I hope you will join me in congratulating our out-going Editors-in-Chief, John Jenkins and E Premkumar Reddy, and thanking them for their tireless efforts and great success. Thanks go out, too, to the Editorial Board. Together, week after week, month after month, and year after year, they have brought us Oncogene, which fills a critically important niche in the basic biomedical sciences. This is often a thankless job, you know. Let's face it, when a paper is published, we authors are pleased to accept praise for our achievement (and rightly so) but how often do we then praise the hard work of the editors, publishers and reviewers who worked to this end as well? But they are the first to be blamed if we fail. We say, ‘Yes, we got in’, or ‘No, they turned us down’. Well, just this once, let's say ‘thank you’, for all they’ve done, which, I can tell you, is a massive amount. Later on, of course, you’ll blame me, but hey, it comes with the job.
This is also a nice opportunity to thank everyone who has been, and hopefully will continue to be, a reviewer for Oncogene. Oh, I know, we authors always try to thank reviewers in our rebuttal letters in the hope that they will be lenient, but we can do it again, now, with no ‘April Fooling’, and recognize all of those who take time out of their busy schedules to perform this invaluable service. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
We have reorganized things a bit, as you’ll notice. We have enlisted the help of an outstanding group of Deputy Editors who are truly leaders in this field. The Deputy Editors will perform initial evaluations of the submissions to ensure that we focus time and effort on those contributions that will advance the literature, while returning those that might need a bit more work or might fare better elsewhere. We have similarly recruited our outstanding Receiving Editors, again notable leaders, who will further evaluate the papers and solicit advice from reviewers in rendering decisions. I look forward to working with this fabulous group to provide the speediest responses to your submitted papers.
Of course, I want to encourage you to send us your most exciting work, and to assure you that we will read it, think about it and provide the best advice we can, and hopefully publish it in a journal that will continue to be of the greatest interest to our colleagues. And I want to encourage you to read those papers, because these will be a source of novel findings and ideas in this continually evolving field.
This is a good time to open up that file we laid aside, called ‘scope.’ Oncogene focuses on all aspects of the molecular basis of cancer and all of those related areas that are crucial to understanding this disease. These include oncogenes and their proteins, obviously, but also the functions of tumor suppressors, cell cycle control, growth factors and their receptors, immortilization and senescence, cell death and cell growth, as well as other areas that relate to the molecular mechanisms of cellular homeostasis. As your research provides new insights into such processes, please keep Oncogene in mind.
I’ll end here with a simple apology, in advance, for all of the mistakes I will undoubtedly make and for which I already take responsibility. I am the April Fish, and I do think that this is the new year. But I am a quick learner, I hope. Do let me know if we manage to get something right, what we have gotten wrong and how we can do better. Our mission is to ensure that Oncogene is a journal that you will read, learn from, work with and publish in, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to make this happen.
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Green, D. April Fish. Oncogene 28, 1569 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/onc.2009.28