Today I am very excited and not a little apprehensive. That is because today we properly launch a new journal, Nature Plants. It has been a long time coming, some will say too long. Certainly the idea was talked about in the long distant past of the early years of the millennium. At the time I was working as a biology editor on Nature and handling most of the plant biology that was submitted. We talked about launching a plant biology journal but the time didn’t seem right, there didn’t seem a specific need.
Things have changed in the dozen of so years since then. The explosion of plant genomics off the back of the Arabidopsis genome sequencing coupled to advances in synthetic and systems biology has made engineering in plants a reality. The World population has risen from below 6 billion to over 7 billion putting and increasing strain on our ability to feed ourselves. And that is before you consider the degree to which our greater understanding of the progress of climate change has shown exactly how lean the years ahead may be. Understanding plants in all their myriad aspects will be central to the survival of mankind, as indeed it always has been. Through their harvesting of the suns energy plants are fundamental to the creation of environments capable of supporting other forms of complex life. They provide raw materials for every human endeavour in the form of food, clothing, energy, shelter and the complex chemicals on which our modern world is based.
Plants are also fascinating in their own right. They are aliens among us. Faced with the same basic biology and environment they have evolved different and exotic ways to survive and thrive. A parallel kingdom to that of animals at which we can marvel. OK so I’m getting a bit carried away with myself but it is difficult to deny the how fascinating and how interesting plants are.
And that is what Nature Plants is all about: their evolution, development, metabolism, their interactions with the environment, their societal significance. We will be publishing primary research into the molecular biology, physiology and ecology of plants—in both the basic and applied research spheres—as well as investigations into the relationship between humanity and the plant kingdom. Nature Plants will provide a fully rounded picture of the most accomplished and significant advances in the plant sciences. And on top of that there will be Commentaries, Reviews, News and Views, everything that you would expect from a Nature journal.
So if you have some fascinating and significant studies please consider publishing them with us. Our online submission system is fully functional and we are waiting to read about your research. Our first ‘issue’ will be in January 2015 which may sound a ways off yet, but will come around very soon.
Help us make Nature Plants the invaluable source for researchers, technologists and policy makers alike.