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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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March 5, 2006

Journal of Biological Chemical Biochemical Chemical Biology

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Posted by Derek

My inbox at work has been receiving promotions for the new American Chemical Society journal ACS Chemical Biology. I've looked it over, and it's the sort of thing that I like to read. I should also note that they've started a wiki on the whole topic of just what chemical biology is, and it'll be interesting to see if they get contributions.

But there are other e-mails demanding my attention. The Nature Publishing Group has been sending me notices about new journal, Nature Chemical Biology. That one's not bad, either. Watching them fight with the ACS journal over the exact same papers should be fun.

Of course, you wouldn't expect a powerhouse like Elsevier to stay out of this, but they can point out that they were already there: Chemistry and Biology has been around for years. I don't read it as often as I probably should, but it's published some interesting articles.

And if Elsevier is there, can Wiley be far behind? That would be the Euro-flavored ChemBioChem, awkwardly named but a pretty good read. They have a bit more of a drug-discovery angle to them than the Elsevier journal, to my eye, and they've also been around a few years.

That angle is supposedly going to be dealt with more explicitly by Chemical Biology and Drug Design. This is the journal formerly known as the Journal of Peptide Research, but the times, they have changed. Would you be interested in BioMedCentral's BMC Chemical Biology? If you have some time after that, the Royal Society of Chemistry has synthesized their Chemical Biology Virtual Journal by amalgamating relevant papers from their other publications. How about Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, in case you're having trouble getting a handle on what's going on?

What's going on, as is probably clear by now, is a major publishing pileup. But there's something to be learned from it. If the various publishers didn't think that there was a market (for submissions and for subscriptions) they wouldn't be so eager to get in on the action. In some coming posts, I'll be taking a look at just what action that is, and whether it represents a takeover of biology by chemistry or the reverse.

Comments (7) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: The Scientific Literature


1. Pankaj on March 6, 2006 7:12 AM writes...

A nice subject for posting.

It is interesting to see that many university departments are also showing a trend towards renaming themselves from plain "Department of Chemistry" to "Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology (Rutgers), also a few Departments of Chemical Engineering are now Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (UIUC/UCLA).

And ACS has time and again broached the topic of changing themselves from "American Chemical Society" to "Society for Moleculer Sciences and Engineering" etc to better represent the changing scope of chemical sciences.

Some interesting posts are at
and the links therein.

Chemical Biology, Biological Chemistry, Biochemistry, Bio/Molecular Engineering......Are all these synonymous?

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2. Drew on March 6, 2006 11:06 AM writes...

And then, you have the whole "J of Biochemistry" sphere, which is a whole other scary realm...

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3. LNT on March 6, 2006 11:25 AM writes...

Does anyone else think that there are suprisingly few journals in white to publish "traditional" medicinal chemistry? Here's all I can think of:
Bioorganic & Med Chemistry
Bioorganic & Med Chemistry Letters

Once in a (long) while: Science, Nature, JACS, and Angew.Chemie

Any others? For the amount of research going on, that seems like a disporportionatly small number of journals in which to publish.

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4. PS on March 6, 2006 11:58 AM writes...

LNT, there is also European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

On a slightly different issue, there was an interesting article on the development of Velcade (bortezomib)in Nature Drug Disocvery recently (volume 5, 2006). Would Derek like to comment on that story sometime maybe?

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5. qetzal on March 6, 2006 1:41 PM writes...

What about the Journal of Biological Chemistry? It's been around since 1905!

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6. Derek Lowe on March 6, 2006 3:03 PM writes...

I thought about throwing JBC in there, but they publish almost nothing that I'd call "chemical biology". Whether they publish anything much that qualifies as "biological chemistry" is kind of a stumper, too. Mostly straight biology, as far as I can see, and plenty of it.

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7. Abel Pharmboy on March 7, 2006 1:00 PM writes...

qetzal beat me to it, but I was also going to suggest JBC because it has strayed so far from its roots. My blog nym is taken from the founder of the JBC, John Jacob Abel, a chemist and physician who is considered the American father of Pharmacology. The journals are often molded by what gets submitted to them - in fact, I plan to send my next chemical paper to JBC just to make a point.

In the AACR (Amer Assoc for Cancer Res), there is an active chemistry subcommittee that is pushing for more representation in its journals and I've found that Molecular Cancer Therapeutics is a good home for chemistry-oriented oncology work.

If you'll indulge me, Derek, I dare to go so far as to say that Pharmacology was the "original" Chemical Biology: one of the few biomedical disciplines where chemists and biologists have routinely interacted from the early 1900s up through today.

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