mBio is a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). ASM has been publishing microbiology research since 1916, and mBio represents ASM’s first cross-discipline, open-access publication.
The scope of mBio includes all aspects of the microbiological sciences, including virology, bacteriology, parasitology, mycology, and allied fields, which may include immunology, ecology, geology, population biology, computational biology, anti-infectives and vaccines, public health, etc.
mBio complements ASM’s 9 primary research journals, which serve more specific disciplines.
According to the Journal Citation Reports for 2011 (Thomson Reuters), mBio has an impact factor of 5.311 and ranks 16th among all microbiology-centered journals.
The ASM journals program has historically provided a venue for the publication of a wide spectrum of microbiological research. ASM publishes 11 other journals that focus on narrower areas of microbiology such as bacteriology and virology. mBio was conceived (i) to offer a publication vehicle for more cutting-edge research of broader interest and (ii) to serve as a laboratory to test new publishing technologies.
In naming the journal, ASM coined the novel term "mBio." This term is also frequently used as an abbreviation for the field of microbiology (e.g., in college course catalogs).
mBio was officially launched on September 13, 2009, at a reception at the 49th ICAAC meeting in San Francisco, CA. Founding Editor in Chief Arturo Casadevall took questions about the journal and unveiled the mBio website. mBio was launched in May 2010, with several notable articles appearing in the inaugural issue.
mBio offers streamlined decisions. The intent is for authors to receive decisions on their manuscripts more quickly and more transparently. Editors either accept or reject manuscripts, and request only minor revisions; editors generally do not require authors to make extensive modifications or perform additional experiments.
This editorial philosophy is meant to contrast with publication models in which authors are required to perform additional experiments with no guarantee of acceptance. Although the “clear decision” model means that manuscripts needing further experiments are more likely to be rejected, it is intended to improve the publishing experience for authors.
Research Article and Observation article types in mBio include a short (150 words or less), non-technical explanation of why the work is important. (The evaluation of the importance of a piece of research is based on the essay by A. Casadevall and F. C. Fang, Important Science – It's All about the SPIN, Infect. Immun. 77:4177-4180.)
The mBio website offers commenting functionality on each full-text article page. The commenting feature is intended to offer a venue for post-publication commentaries and exchanges by readers. mBio also continues to publish Letters to the Editor as a venue for more-formal exchanges.
Association with the academy
mBio is published in association with the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM), which is the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology. AAM Fellows work with the mBio Editor in Chief by serving as editors and reviewers for manuscripts submitted in their areas of expertise.
AAM Fellows are also entitled to submit one paper to mBio per calendar year via a special, accelerated submission path. This path allows Fellows to obtain two external reviews prior to submission and communicate the paper plus reviewer feedback and author responses to mBio. The mBio editor handling these submissions maintains the prerogative of deciding whether or not the external reviews should be considered and can recommend modification, additional review, or rejection.
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- A. Casadevall and F. C. Fang. 2009. Important Science – It's All about the SPIN. Infect. Immun. 77:4177-4180. http://iai.asm.org/cgi/content/abstract/77/10/4177