Less than two years after publishing its first issue, the online open-access journal mBio- is now ranked among the top 20 highest-impact microbiology journals according to Thomson Reuters, which has just released its Journal Citation Reports for 2011. Thomson Reuters tracks the number of times scholarly articles are cited by other authors and compiles the information into "impact factors", rough measures of the quality or standing of a journal within its field. Since the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) launched mBio- in April 2010, it already boasts an impact factor of 5.311 and ranks 16th among all microbiology-centered journals.
mBio- is ASM's first broad-scope open-access journal and is published solely online. Among the journal's other distinguishing features is its streamlined decision policy, a response to what many in science perceive to be overly onerous revision requirements by many study reviewers. Using a rigorous peer-review process with an eye to importance and impact, mBio offers authors an up or down decision on manuscripts and will request only minor revisions. The average time to first decision for all mBio- manuscripts (excluding those editorially rejected) is 23 days.
In its short history, mBio- has published a number of studies and opinion pieces that have garnered national and international attention, in such media outlets as the New York Times, MSNBC, and CNN. An article published in February 2011 by scientists at Northwestern University was the first to reveal the presence of human DNA in a bacterium, the pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a genetic entanglement that many thought was not possible and contributes to our understanding of how pathogens and hosts can evolve together. The news about gonorrhea was picked up by bloggers and writers for the national press.