In January 2024, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (NSMB) will celebrate the 30th anniversary of publishing its first issue. Though initially launched as Nature Structural Biology in 1994, the journal has since expanded its scope to include all research into the molecular underpinnings of life, with the vision that the broadest insight can be gleaned through a suite of complementary approaches.
To say that the molecular sciences have experienced revolutions within the last three decades is an understatement. Technological advancements have catapulted several fields into entirely uncharted terrains. Previously intractable problems have become within reach. Genomics, proteomics and multi-omics methods have generated the most complex catalogs of cellular signatures to date. Genome-editing tools have granted us mastery over the blueprints of life. Advances in computation combined with painstaking generation of extraordinary datasets have unlocked powerful predictive spaces, and, with the interest in molecular structure continuing unabated, over 200,000 structures of biological molecules have painted an ever more complete picture of life at the atomic scale.
Advances of this grandeur need to be paired with reflection — an aim that previous editorial teams as well as ourselves have, and will continue to, uphold without compromise. To this end, we want to reinforce the role of our journal as a forum to accompany seminal research with thoughtful commentary and inclusive leadership. At this milestone, we are prompted to revisit not only ontological questions related to what we have learned in the last decades, but also epistemological ones, of how the old and new experimental approaches shape both our knowledge and the questions we can ask. Importantly, we also want to reflect on the ethical, social and cultural repercussions of all these advances. We are extremely appreciative and thankful for the wonderful contributions we receive regularly from our readers. Thank you for your letters over the years that have helped shape data sharing1 policies2, contributed to outreach3 and teaching4, and deepened our perspectives about the powers5 and limitations6 of groundbreaking technologies7. We want to hear more from you.
We ask you to join us as we reflect on the last three decades of NSMB, but also look towards the future. To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we would like to give you, our readers, center stage and invite you to send us your comments and letters to the editors, reflecting both on the past and the upcoming years. Send us your thoughts on what intrigues you in your field of research, where you think it should be heading to, and what you deem are its biggest challenges and opportunities. Please submit your correspondences and comment pieces directly to our website. We particularly encourage early-career researchers to reach out to us. This is your opportunity to start important conversations. We will carefully go through your letters and select the most insightful correspondences to publish throughout all of 2024.
What should we feature on our anniversary issue cover next January? Some of our most celebrated covers have been original photo submissions from our authors — some have found creative inspiration amid the drudgery of household chores, while others have taken a second glance at the vehicle they used to commute to the lab and saw resemblances to their favorite molecular processes. This gave us the idea to launch a photo competition for our anniversary issue. We are opening a call for the submission of original photos shot by our readers — send us your pictures (with a brief explanation of what they represent) at firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will not only get featured on the cover of our anniversary issue but will also win a Nature+ subscription in 2024. We are very excited to see what you have to share with us!
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Our 30th anniversary is approaching. We want to hear from you. Nat Struct Mol Biol 30, 1239 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41594-023-01108-2