With the current issue Archives Italiennes de Biologie enter into the era of the web publishing system. This represents a historical moment for Archives which, founded by Angelo Mosso in 1882, with its 126 years is one of the world oldest scientific journals and the first modern scientific journal ever published in Italy. Since first issues, Archives published papers that have played a major role in the development of biological sciences. Just to mention a few examples, volume I contains the first of a series of papers by Bizzozzero on blood platelets and on their role in blood clotting. In the first volumes, anatomical reports by Camillo Golgi (who, together with Ramon Y Cajal, would be awarded the Nobel prize in 1901) in which he proposes an original theory on the localization of brain functions and presents the first description of the silver impregnation staining technique that made him world-famous, can also be found.
Published originally only in French, Archives gained a more international flavor with Giuseppe Moruzzi, Editor-in-Chief from 1957 to 1980, who adopted also English as language for publication, and made the Journal a forum for the discussion of pivotal work in neuroscience and neurobiology. Under the guidance of Moruzzi and, later, of Ottavio Pompeiano, Archives Italiennes de Biologie became a true international Journal of physiology in which outstanding scientists from all over the world published their work. Rita Levi Montalcini, Michelangelo Fuortes, John M. Brookhart, Dominick P. Purpura, Ragnar Granit, Frederic Bremer, Michel Jouvet, Herbert H. Jaspers, James M. Sprague, Denise Albe-Fessard, Dell, and many other European and American physiologists have contributed important articles to Archives in the course of the years.
We have decided to retain the original French denomination of the Journal as a proud memento of its long tradition in science. In this respect, the Archives web site will progressively have a collection of the most representative papers published since the early days. Furthermore, time to time we will propose an old seminal article accompanied by a retrospective expert commentary on the impact that piece of work has played in the advancement of knowledge.
The web publication system brings many advantages for contemporary authors as well. Electronic handling of manuscript submission will ameliorate the review process and shorten the time to reach an editorial decision. In addition, manuscripts will appear on line shortly after acceptance and will be available for download before being included in the first available printed issue. High-quality color figures will be included in the electronic version at no cost for the authors.
During 2008, electronic PDF of manuscripts from special issues will be available at no cost for the scientific community. Afterwards, papers will be available free of charge to Archives subscribers, and with a minimal pay-per-article fee to non-subscribers. Furthermore, authors could decide to make their papers become freely available to everyone after publication with a open access policy.
We cannot think of a better way for Archives to improve its commitment to contribute to the diffusion of scientific knowledge and to promote discussion among scientists. As Editors, we feel the responsibility we have towards authors and readers to provide a fair, rapid and high-quality review process in order to serve the scientific community life in the best manner.
Pietro Pietrini and Brunello Ghelarducci