What does community mean to Comms Biology? | EBM Interview

We spoke with Dr. Eliana Scemes, member of the Communications Biology Editorial Board, about the ways the journal makes an impact in the community.
Published in Social Sciences
What does community mean to Comms Biology? | EBM Interview

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Dr. Eliana Scemes

Dr. Eliana Scemes is a Full Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy of New York Medical College. Her research focuses on intercellular communication via gap junctions and purinergic receptors during brain development and under neuro-inflammatory and degenerative conditions.

Q: What is your current research focused on?

My main research interest regards the physiological and pathological roles of glia gap junctions. Over the last 10 years we have focused our research on purinergic signaling mediated by ATP released from pannexin-1 channels (also called  gap junction “hemichannel”). Currently we are using multiple approaches (electrophysiology, calcium imaging, mouse behavior) to determine the contribution of these channels to seizures, particularly how they affect astrocyte-neuronal communication in the short and long term after status epilepticus. 

Q: What is your best experience in being a Communications Biology editorial board member so far?

The best experience is being part of the Comms Bio community. That is, to be able to participate in several activities such as handling and assessing manuscripts and travel awards for young investigators, listening to invited talks and conferences promoted by the journal, communicating with in-house editors, and participating in editorial board member meetings. 

Q: How do you think the journal responds to challenges faced by your research community?

There are several levels by which Communications Biology responds to these challenges. A) The launch of Comms Bio provided a home where overflown good science could be disseminated while maintaining the prestige of Nature. B) The Journal promotes gender and cultural diversity as seen by the composition of the editorial board members, and C) supports early career and underrepresented investigators through travel awards.

Q: How do you think multidisciplinarity / interdisciplinarity is increasing (in your field?). How does Communications Biology support this or fill sub-discipline gaps?

My field of interest is Neuroscience, which a broad field that includes many sub-fields (cellular and molecular, behavioral, developmental, computational, cognitive, affective, social and clinical neurosciences, neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, neurogenetics, etc.). In 1971, during the first Society for Neuroscience meeting, the field of Neuroscience began. With the goal to understand how the brain functions and by juxtaposing many areas of expertise from other scientific disciplines such as humanities/social sciences, natural sciences, engineering sciences, and of course life sciences, Neuroscience became a multidisciplinary field. This is now apparent by the large number of publications authored by experts with diverse backgrounds.

With regard to Scientific Journals, some are multidisciplinary such as Nature and Science, for instance, that publish papers on Life Sciences, Social Sciences and Engineering Sciences, while others are more restricted to a particular discipline, such as those sponsored by scientific societies (Society for Neuroscience: Journal of Neuroscience, American Physical Society: Physical Review  Letters) and by non-societal publishers (e.g., Springer Nature: Nature Neuroscience, Nature Materials, Communications Biology, Communications Physics). Nevertheless, as researchers are extending efforts beyond their own discipline, it seems that the number of multidisciplinary articles published by single- or multidisciplinary journals does not differ. 

By continuing to foster interdisciplinary research that integrates methods/techniques or concepts from more than one discipline, Communications Biology can contribute to advance and disseminate research across disciplinary boundaries.

Learn more about the impact of Communications Biology, including recent peer review metrics, here.

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