About our magazine
ASBMB Today is an award-winning news magazine published by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. It is updated online daily and free for all to access. It is distributed in print to ASBMB members 11 times a year. Join ASBMB to receive the print edition.
Over the past two decades, ASBMB Today has become a valued source of news, features and perspectives that reaches readers far beyond the biochemistry and molecular biology community.
About our content
The magazine publishes:
- news and commentary on budgetary and legislative issues
- profiles of emerging and established scientists
- investigative reports on scientific controversies
- articles about recent trends in biochemistry and molecular biology
- reports about new research projects and findings
- personal essays by scientists and science students
- instructional, opinion and advice articles about education, diversity in science and professional development
About our readers
Though most ASBMB members are academic research scientists, our online readership includes students, science communications specialists, policymakers, educators and others who are interested in biomedical research. Writers should write for scientifically literate readers but not necessarily practicing scientists — and certainly not specialists.
About our writers
Articles from ASBMB members and others in the life sciences community are welcome. (See calls for submission below.) Please browse recent issues of the magazine to see if your article idea is a good fit before contacting us.
ASBMB Today also works with budding science writers. Send a letter of interest to the managing editor at email@example.com. Use the subject line "Joining contributors program."
Tell compelling stories
We believe in good storytelling. You should weave descriptive, vivid scenes with factual, informative passages. In other words, aim for more “showing” than “telling.” In addition, quotes bring stories alive. Consider using quotes from sources you have interviewed or from materials you’ve used in your research to convey information in interesting and lively ways.
Stay true to your authorial voice
We aim to maintain a professional yet conversational tone. We especially encourage first-person narratives. We discourage stilted, convoluted and passive constructions. If you’re in doubt about something you’ve written, try reading it aloud or enlist a colleague to do so. If it sounds natural, you’ve hit the right note. If it doesn’t sound like your true conversational voice, rewrite it.
Choose an effective format
Any story can be told in a number of ways, and we encourage you to consider using untraditional formats to tell yours. For instance, a Q&A or top-10 list, in some cases, is more effective than a straight news story. You should use lists, subheadings, images, multimedia and boxed nuggets to attract readers and simplify complex information. Also remember that most of your readers will read your article on a mobile device. If you don’t hook them in the first few sentences, you’re going to lose them. Choosing the right format can help you with this.
ASBMB Today believes in giving credit where credit is due. Co-writing is allowed by a maximum of three authors, under the following conditions. First authorship is reserved for the writer who contributed the most to the article. Other bylined authors must have contributed significant shares. Those who contribute only feedback or editing can be acknowledged at the end of the article in an author’s note but will not get bylines.
Cite your sources
ASBMB Today is a news magazine, not a scientific journal, so it does not use references. Use in-text attribution of sources. You can also add hyperlinks for the online version. And remember: You are allowed to say some things on your own authority without citations.
- Use simple, declarative sentences. Do not use passive or complicated constructions.
- Avoid jargon.
- Avoid excessive use of acronyms.
- Introduce new concepts one at a time and in bite-size nuggets.
- Numbers can be numbing. Use them judiciously.
- Include visuals that help tell your story.
- Use analogies and examples to show rather than tell.
- Communicate the relevance to those in other unrelated fields.
- Writing for ASBMB Today is a voluntary endeavor. We will repay you with kindness, good humor and reprints upon request.
All articles are edited according to the Associated Press style guide and fact-checked by sources prior to publication. Final editorial decisions are made by the ASBMB Today staff.
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's three journals — Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular & Cellular Proteomics and Journal of Lipid Research — became open access Jan. 1. To celebrate this important change, ASBMB Today is hosting an essay contest in 2021 that showcases scientists' "aha moments."
We welcome submissions of short essays (up to 300 words). Write about your own aha moment or about an aha moment in history. All stories must be true (link to citations when appropriate but do not include a reference list).
The ASBMB Today staff will select three winning essays. All will be published in the magazine. Honorable mentions might be as well.
First prize is a free ASBMB membership, free registration to the 2021 ASBMB Annual Meeting and a $100 Amazon gift card. Second prize is free registration to the ASBMB annual meeting and a $50 Amazon gift card. Third place is a $25 Amazon gift card.
When the world reopens after COVID-19, it will be a different place. It’s a good time to reimagine ways the scientific enterprise could be more sensible and just. We want your ideas for how to do that. Think about the systems around you. Can they be improved? Should they be replaced? Tell us what you would do to make them better.
Have you have been denied tenure? Have you denied someone tenure? We want to hear about the experience.
Submit full personal essays, scholarship-driven reports or commentaries through the submission manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org with queries/pitches.
The ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee is providing the NIH with feedback on recent funding proposals. A new PAAC working group is charged with proposing innovative ideas to support the next generation of scientists.
This is where you fit in! Instead of responding to a proposal, we invite you to help develop a proposal from the ground floor. Imagine you have a blank piece of paper:
· What are the largest issues facing the community today?
· What policies should be reevaluated when it comes to supporting the next generation?
· What initiatives work in other places that the NIH should consider?
The PAAC urges you to share your thoughts. They can be as detailed or as broad as you like — a one-sentence comment or a 10-page proposal. We’ll exchange ideas in ASBMB Today and online. Together, we can build a case for where the NIH should focus its attention to support the next generation.
Please include your complete contact information.
Diversity: What’s working?
In the February 2016 issue of ASBMB Today we printed a variety of thoughts from ASBMB society members and the larger biomedical and molecular biology community about the current state of diversity in BMB. We saw this as the first step in an ongoing conversation about diversity in the field and are now looking for essays about what concrete steps the field can take to improve. We'd also like to hear about any promising developments that are already under way.
This is an ongoing call.
Features are long-form profiles, investigative pieces, Q&As and explanatory reports. While most are written by staff writers, we welcome story ideas and pitches from prospective authors. Please include "Feature" in your subject line and a bit about your qualifications in your pitch.
Essays are flexible in length and nature but are always first-person narratives of interest to a broad readership. Submissions are welcome year-round, and themed calls for submissions are issued regularly. Please include "Essay" in your subject line and a bit about your qualifications in your pitch.
Retrospectives reflect on the lives and scientific achievements of recently deceased researchers, often — but not always — are solicited. They should be about ASBMB members who made significant contributions to the field and/or scientific community. You may submit ideas, pitches and queries for Retrospectives.
In memoriam articles are short (usually fewer than 300 words) obituaries are about ASBMB members and assigned by the editor to willing contributors. To be considered for "In Memoriam" contributions, submit a letter with your qualifications with the subject line "In memoriam contributor."
All of our news stories are assigned by editors to willing contributors. If you wish to be considered as a contributor for news, submit a letter containing your qualifications and use a subject line specifying which news sections you'd prefer. (You are welcome to declare interest in all three sections.)
Research findings and developments articles are short (usually around 500 words) and cover new research findings published in non-ASBMB journals and other developments of interest to those in the biochemistry and molecular biology community.
From the journals contributions are brief summaries (200-300 words) of multiple articles in our journals, usually the Journal of Lipid Research or Molecular & Cellular Proteomics.
Lipid news articles are usually around 500 words and solicited by ASBMB Lipid Research Divison leaders. They come in two formats. The narrative format highlights new, important advances in lipid research of interest to those outside of the field. The Q&A format highlights the important, new work of a single researcher. If you're interested in writing a lipid news article, contact Daniel Raben.
Education articles (usually 500 to 1,000 words long):
- offer advice for undergraduate and graduate students,
- provide teaching strategies and case studies,
- explore trends in education,
- and feature innovative approaches and programs.
Professional development articles (usually between 500 and 1,000 words) address various aspects of careers. Advice columns, lists of tips, personal reflections and opinion pieces are welcome. Include "Professional development" in the headline of your pitch or submission.
Career insights articles (usually between 500 and 1,000 words) are strictly first-person case studies about careers outside of academia. We welcome submissions and recommendations of authors to invite. Include "Career insights" in the headline of your pitch or submission.
Minority affairs articles (usually around 500 words) focus on diversity in science, academia and industry. First-person essays are encouraged, as are scholarship-driven articles. Include "Minority affairs" in the headline of your pitch or submission.
Readers responses are short letters and formal responses. Please put "Reader response" in the headline of your submission.