This week, Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM) formally announced the appointment of a new team of academic editors to lead the journal. Ross Cagan, Associate Dean of the Graduate School for Biological Sciences at Mount Sinai Medical Center, succeeds Vivian Siegel as the Editor-in-Chief, and he is joined by Senior Editors Monica Justice, Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, and George Tidmarsh, Chief Executive Officer at La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company.
Ross, Monica and George describe their interest in and vision for DMM in an inaugural editorial published in the latest issue of the journal. “This is a challenging but also an exciting time for science”, they write. “Our tools are not only more powerful, their level of improvement itself is accelerating. Not surprisingly, we are now trying to imagine how these tools can be applied to disease. What we find remarkable is that the founders of DMM understood these trends years ago.”
Describing some of the obstacles to the translation of biological findings to clinical benefit, they continue: “Many of the failures we have seen in translating novel basic biological discoveries to useful medicines are a result of the inadequacies of the animal models we use at the critical juncture between bench and bedside”. To address these inadequacies and promote future drug development, the team aims to introduce new standards for the rigorous preclinical assessment of animal models of disease.
Another issue raised is the lack of reproducibility of scientific findings, which has been reported in several journals. The new editors argue that negative data can be as informative as positive data when exploring therapeutics, so aim to encourage the publication of useful negative results: “….we will help promote –through our publications – a change in the scientific culture responsible for the asymmetric publication of positive results”.
Vivian Siegel, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, has stepped down after four years as Editor-in-Chief. In her farewell editorial, she reflects on the changes that DMM has undergone since launch, including the move to become open-access and, recently, a change in Creative Commons license to further promote access and sharing.
“About a year and a half ago, I agreed to become the Director of Scientific Education and Public Communications at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and realized I would have limited time to devote to DMM, too little to give it what it needs to continue to grow” Vivian writes, explaining her decision to leave DMM. “I encouraged The Company of Biologists to identify academic editors instead of another professional editor to succeed me, as I felt that the journal had now reached an age where its lead editors should be researchers actively engaged in the work covered by the journal.”
DMM is an open-access biomedical journal that publishes research and reviews focusing on the use of model organisms to provide insight into disease mechanisms, diagnostics and therapeutics. Founded in 2008, the journal was the fourth to be launched by the Company of Biologists.
To find out more and access the latest issue of the journal, go to http://dmm.biologists.org/