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Journal milestones

Since the publication of its first issue in January 2019, Nature Metabolism has come a long way. Here, we reflect on watching our journal develop and grow, highlighting some of the important milestones on our journey.

Nature Metabolism is still a comparatively new journal, yet we have flourished with the support of the metabolism research community. We now know that our initial hurdles were typical of the launch of a new scientific journal. The launch process is unsurprisingly complicated, requiring a dedicated team to anticipate and navigate the many challenges on the road to publishing a successful journal. Our first job was outreach, and spreading the word about our upcoming journal to the metabolism research community required extensive interaction with scientists around the world—at conferences and lab visits—to introduce the new journal and our vision. We remain very grateful to the first authors who braved the unknown with us, gave us a chance and trusted us to publish their research. Our joint efforts culminated in a great first issue, which we feel accurately showcased the breadth of our scope and set the tone for future issues. Looking back, we are heartened to see that our inclusive scope of metabolism research has been appreciated by the research community, as evidenced by the continual stream of high-quality submissions that we receive in a wide range of metabolic fields.

However, filling our virtual pages with high-quality research would be almost pointless if no one could find it. Indexing is key to the discoverability of journal articles but does not happen automatically. Instead, journals must apply for inclusion in the relevant databases and meet specific criteria. After a long process, Nature Metabolism articles finally became available for everyone to find, with inclusion in Scopus and Web of Science in 2019, and in Medline (including PubMed) in 2020: another hurdle overcome.

In the future, our articles may soon be not only visible but also accessible to everyone in the research community. As a Transformative Journal, we are committed to transitioning to a fully Open Access journal. From January 2021, authors of new submissions have had the opportunity to publish their research as gold Open Access, as an alternative to subscription-based publishing. We are excited that many of our authors have expressed enthusiasm for this option, and we feel that a new chapter has begun with the publishing of our first gold Open Access papers. We are proud to be part of this transformative time in scientific publishing, and we look forward to seeing the number of Open Access articles grow in our pages over the coming years.

As a scientific journal, we strive to publish some of the most important studies in the field of metabolism research. We are immensely proud of our authors’ hard work, and we are humbled to see that our efforts and those of our authors have been recognized by the scientific community, as reflected in our very first 2-year impact factor (13.5). The impact factor is the average number of citations in 2020 of items published in our first year of publication, 2019. The 2-year citation median further tells us that the citation average is not driven by only a few very highly cited pieces, thus indicating that our articles, especially our Reviews, have generally been of value to the scientific community.

In addition to publishing solid, impactful research in metabolism, we strive to provide value through the services that we offer to our authors. Our aim has always been to provide our authors with a fair and transparent decision-making process, and to do so in a timely manner. We have met our goal to return our first editorial postsubmission decision to authors within 1 week, and the first postreview decision within 40 days (median of 37 days in 2019). More importantly, we work hard to ensure that these decisions are informative and helpful, rather than sending a standard rejection letter or simply passing along reviewers’ comments. We aim to give our authors clear guidance for revisions, explain our decisions and offer an alternative home for papers not suitable for publication in our pages, through consultation with our fellow editors at other Nature Portfolio journals.

The ability to closely collaborate with other Nature Portfolio journals is one of the strengths of belonging to the Nature Research family. In the future, we are especially excited about the opportunity to keep our ties to Nature close, as one of our editors, George Caputa, will be leaving us soon to take over a role as editor in cellular and organismal metabolism and vascular biology at Nature. Although it is difficult to say goodbye to a member of our team, we look forward to continuing to work together to benefit the metabolism research community.

Finally, our commitment to the metabolism research community goes beyond the publication of high-quality research. We want Nature Metabolism to be a space to facilitate discussion, collaboration and the birth of new ideas. We aim to showcase the stories that our authors have to tell, and we have developed our Career Pathways series to share these stories with our readers.

We remain eager to interact with our community, and we always enjoy the opportunity to discuss submissions, projects and ideas. We will be glad to again be able to see many of you in person at conferences and lab visits around the world. As we have done the past 2 years, we look forward to continuing to work together in promoting and advancing the field of metabolism.

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Journal milestones. Nat Metab 3, 879 (2021).

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