Meet Amar Abderrahmani
The Editor-in-Chief of All Life
Frontiers in Life Science is now All Life. Why the new direction?
Frontiers in Life Science was born over 10 years ago by the Human Frontier Science program (HSFP), transferring ownership to Taylor & Francis in the last few years and most recently, moved to publish under an open access model. The journal transformation already witnessed the changes in research, evolving at the front line of several disciplines including biology, medical sciences, physics, chemistry, bioinformatics and other disciplines. In the last few years, the number of multi- and inter-disciplinary research programmes in the life sciences has intensified as a consequence of growing societal, economic and environmental needs. Today, for example, a manuscript investigating the DNA structure and expression changes in response to environmental pollutants, require a multidisciplinary approach, bringing together experts in bioinformatics, biophysics, environmental science and animal physiology. Such research needs an appropriate journal to communicate this research with the right editors and reviewers.
To answer this need, we have transformed Frontiers in Life Science into All Life, a customized multidisciplinary journal, containing initially 12 interconnected relevant discipline sections, led by internationally recognized Section Editors with the support of their Associate Editors and Board Members. Covering all biomedical branches that lay at the interface with the physical and social sciences, All Life will be a forum leader for multi-disciplinary research. We encourage all life science researchers to send us their papers that might not fit well in a traditional, discipline specific journal.
Which topics are you most interested to cover in the journal?
All Life now includes a new international team of subject experts split by specialty into subject-led sections. All Life is linked with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and this is reflected through the goals of each section. The journal will initially have 12 Sections:
- Aquaculture and Marine Biology (Goal 14)
- Agriculture (Goal 2)
- Bioengineering & Biotechnology (Goal 3 and 15)
- Computational Life Sciences, Bioinformatics and System Biology (Goal 3)
- Cancer Biology (Goal 3)
- Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology (Goal 3, 14 and 15)
- Epidemiology, Genetics & Genomic (Goal 3, 14 and 15)
- Molecular Biophysics (Goal 3, 14 and 15)
- Microbiology (Goal 3, 14 and 15)
- Pharmacology & Pharmaceutics (Goal 3)
- Plant Biology (Goal 15)
- Translational Physiology (Goal 3)
We will look to extend the number of sections offered, based on community need.
As the new Editor for All Life, what are your plans for the next year?
As the new Editor-in-Chief of All Life, I am honoured to have actively worked in the relaunch of All Life journal with the new look and appointment of a motivated and ambitious editorial team. Our board includes eminent Section Editors with many supporting Associate Editors and Board Members.
In 2020, I look forward to integrating our different Sections, ensuring a high-quality review process is maintained and instilling new editorial policies, such as our policy to mandate all data which research conclusions are built on be made publicly available (please see our Information for Authors for more information).
We aim to make All Life a top multidisciplinary journal with a reputation for publishing quality, reproducible research following a rigorous peer review process.
What are the current challenges facing the research community?
We are living a new world order, with a global cooperation on climate change and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) focused on time-bound targets for prosperity, people, planet, peace, and partnership. To achieve these objectives, an international consortium of distinguished scientists has reported a set of transformations that will impact all aspects of life and will involve a major change in our current economic, political, technological and social structure. Based on the UNSDGs, research communities will face new challenges with direct and stronger social, economic and medical impact. Researchers need to step outside of their own discipline to find the best solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.
How do you see open access publication shaping research?
Open access aims to make scientific articles available and free of charge to everyone with an internet connection. This gives tremendous possibilities for researchers to rapidly access and share knowledge and information. It also improves the transparency of data and knowledge transfer in society, policy, and the economy. Thereby, open access publication promotes more transparent, competitive and innovative research. Researchers in All Life will be mandated to make all data that their research findings are built on be made publicly available.
What does it mean to make all data publicly available?
This policy means authors need to deposit their data in a publicly available repository. Authors should use a repository that issues a persistent identifier, preferably a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), and has established a robust preservation plan to ensure the data is preserved in perpetuity. We recommend speaking to your institutional librarian, funder or colleagues at your institution for guidance on choosing a data repository that is relevant to your discipline. Many funders now mandate data sharing - you can check if your funder does by using the Sherpa-Juliet tool.
Authors can publish their data under any Creative Commons license, which means authors can limit the re-use of their data, e.g. for commercial reuse. Whilst we recommend publishing data under a CC0 or CC BY license, we understand publishing associated data may be new to some authors and thus, we have chosen this data policy to allow authors to publish under a less open license such as CC BY-NC (which limits commercial reuse), if they wish to.
Additionally, we highly encourage researchers to consider the FAIR Data Principles when depositing data. More information about sharing data can be found here.
As a prospective author, what are the benefits of publishing in an open access journal like All Life?
The benefits of publishing in our open access journal are several. Manuscripts are made immediately available, free of charge to all, allowing authors’ research to address a wide audience increasing the author’s and their institute’s profile. Many funding agencies encourage immediate open access publication or are implementing a policy to mandate open access publication with an open data mandate.
The open access model allows for quick proliferation of results, meaning research can move faster and be more impactful. In All Life, digital content, including text, images, raw and processed data, audio/video and software is part of a digital archive. All supplemental material in All Life is housed on Figshare.
What would your advice be to early career researchers and/or students?
Very humbly, I do think there are some fundamentals that should be considered to have a long-standing career in academia and industry such as:
1) Make visible your talents and skills. It is important to publicise know how, arguments, themes from research and/or published work you are engaged with. By combining multiple strategies such as creating a blog and approaching senior colleagues throughout your university.
2) Create your professional network: Although it seems obvious, building a reliable professional network needs time and should be considered early on. For example, offer to review articles in journals as part of a longer-term strategy to gain publishing experience and to establish a relationship with the journal’s Editorial Board whom you may like to collaborate with or serve on their journal in the future.
3) Be always efficient, creative and competitive. At larger conferences, talk to the people behind the publisher’s stand. They are usually Senior Commissioning Editors or Publishers and are there to talk about your emerging research ideas and identify which of their publications might be best suited to your research. Expand your skill set, it will open doors to research collaborations you need to develop your career. In this respect, it is important to be supported by mentors. They will offer invaluable expertise while widening your professional arena. Also, write and publish as much as possible.
4) Work hard and get pleasure in doing your job. This is the only way to stay ambitious and to survive in the global research competition.
What support can you give authors and researchers who are hoping to publish in your journal?
Please look at the Taylor & Francis Author Services website before submitting your article, which offers helpful advice and step-by-step guidance for authors from writing your paper through to publication. Editing services is available for those who may need assistance with translation and language polishing.
How can someone who would like to publish in All Life go about doing so?
All Life seeks quality and coherently written manuscripts within the respective scope of each section of the journal. Before submitting a manuscript for publication, it is highly advisable to check your manuscript for clarity and correct English to avoid rejection and unnecessary frustration. The manuscript will be scrutinized critically by the Editorial Board before it is selected for peer review. It is strongly recommended that authors upload a cover letter with their manuscript outlining the main themes of the paper, its novelty or importance to the research community (if reporting negative data or a replication study) and the relevance of the manuscript. This gives authors an opportunity to explain why their research is important and should be peer reviewed.