Since its foundation in 1987, the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) has become an active scientific community, with the latest congresses in Aarhus and Leeds attracting more than 700 and 800 scientists from all over the world, respectively. The number of ESEB members has been growing steadily over the years, with a remarkable 87% increase from 2002 (476) to 2003 (892).

The development of the ESEB has been intimately linked to the development of the society’s own journal - the Journal of Evolutionary Biology (JEB). The first volume of JEB was published in 1988 and it comprised 372 printed pages. The latest volume contained 1348 pages – an increase of 260% over a period of 15 years. In 2004, JEB will increase further in size to 1500 pages. Not only has JEB grown in size over time, but it has also become firmly established as one of the major outlets for evolutionary biology research on both sides of the Atlantic.

As for any journal keeping up with the times, important developments are continuously implemented as the journal ages. One of the most recent and important developments of JEB is the OnlineEarly service that became available in September 2003. On OnlineEarly, all JEB articles will be published in electronic format for reading and downloading on the journal webpage as soon as the authors have returned the page proofs. This means a considerable reduction in submission-to-print times, and hence, better service to our authors and readers.

Another important development to be implemented in the near future is the update of our electronic editorial office, Manuscript Central. A new improved version of this software will be going live in April 2004. This too will mean improved and more efficient services for authors and reviewers alike. It is also a welcome development for the current editorial team of JEB which is expecting to handle over 500 new submissions this year (Fig. 1).

Despite the continuous improvements and developments at the production end, JEB’s prime focus remains on publishing high quality papers important for our understanding of the evolutionary process. We specifically welcome contributions that integrate different approaches and methods to address important evolutionary questions. For any papers focused on important evolutionary problems, we do not discriminate between hi- or low-tech papers, but we particularly welcome papers incorporating evolutionary genomics and developmental approaches to evolutionary problems. Likewise, while we welcome both empirical and theoretical contributions, we encourage in particular those combining the two.

Helsinki 14.3.2004
Juha Merilä,