The Optimizer

How Jerzy Adamski boosts “his” journal

From 2 to 4.561 in four years: Professor Jerzy Adamski has succeeded in significantly increasing the impact factor of the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Elsevier). As editor-in-chief, he has thus increased the influence of this scientific journal in an impressively short time. And he himself also benefits from this “side job”.

Prof. Dr. Jerzy Adamski. © Helmholtz Zentrum München

When I have a concrete goal in mind, I optimize important processes down to the smallest detail," said Professor Jerzy Adamski. The head of the core facility Genome Analysis Center at Helmholtz Zentrum München has experience in launching projects and making them successful: His core facility was the first one at Helmholtz Zentrum München and is today regarded as a globally sought-after platform for both scientific service and research in the field of metabolomics, genomics and transcriptomics.

When he was offered the position of editor-in-chief of the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Adamski first asked himself why its impact factor was so low. The impact factor indicates how frequently articles are cited and is therefore considered a quality feature of every scientific journal. "Causal analysis comes first,“ said the biochemist, describing his optimization procedure. He came to the conclusion that from the mass of submissions, only experts in the respective subject can filter out manuscripts that describe really outstanding new scientific findings. Colleagues from other fields were often dazzled by methodological features such as the sensitivity or precision of the measuring instruments used.

"In fact, the science community is interested in new scientific insights that help us to better understand diseases rather than the method we use," said Adamski. For the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology he is looking for newly discovered mechanisms that play a role, for example, in obesity, diabetes and cancer. His success proves him right: Within just four years, the impact factor of the journal has risen from 2 to 4.561.

"I find this work exciting because I'm always up to date with the latest developments in a wide range of research areas," Adamski added. He also sees a benefit for himself in this additional role: "By reviewing countless manuscripts, he has learned how important it is to sell science well. "I optimize my own data presentations so that the main message immediately catches the eye." Furthermore, Adamski has been able to gain several  outstanding researchers for his own laboratory team: "My scientific network has expanded considerably due to my role as editor-in-chief.”