History - Recent History

Charles B. Metz had enjoyed a long and memorable association with The Biological Bulletin even before he became editor of the journal in 1980. His first published research paper appeared in the June 1942 issue, and he remained a regular contributor to the journal until his retirement from scientific research. As did his predecessors, Metz first became officially involved with the Bulletin as an editorial board member.

Upon his appointment as editor, Metz immediately initiated the Bulletin's invited review article program. Publication of "state-of-the-art" papers, each reviewing a different aspect of biology, was designed to heighten subscribers' awareness of the breadth of articles included in The Biological Bulletin. More importantly, Metz hoped the program would attract an even greater num ber of top-notch papers--especially those by members of the MBL and Woods Hole scientific community. To date, 22 such reviews dealing with neurobiology, physiology, ecology, and developmental biology--to name a few--havebeen published. A quick glance at the table of contents of a recent issue reveals that the review article program has helped to attract quality articles on a variety of subjects.

Of course there is much work left to be done, even as the Bulletin inches its way up to the #1 spot on Jane Fessenden's MBL library readership survey (it's currently #10 out of 4700 journals!). Finding willing review writers can be difficult--the most desirable authors are always the most professionally over-committed. Convincing potential authors that, yes, the Bulletin does publish articles in their area of interest and that their papers will be received by a broad audience, is also an on-going effort.

But the effort appears to be paying off. Today one third of the copies of each issue are mailed abroad, and over the past year foreign authors accounted for approximately twelve percent of the published papers. The MBL library sends out 400 Bulletin subscriptions each year to organizations and other publications for which they receive approximately 600 subscriptions to various journals and publications in return. With the press run averaging about 2500, the Bulletin can be found in most major colleges and universities in the U. S. and abroad. And of course the Bulletin is also received by all MBL Corporation members.

In summary, C.O. Whitman's dream has become reality--the MBL's "little journal" is truly an international success.

Source: Clapp, Pamela L. 1988. "The History of The Biological Bulletin". Biological Bulletin 174 (1): 1-3.