Journal of Experimental (?) Biology

Admitted, we did not see the Journal as it describes itself: “the leading primary research journal in comparative physiology“. Thus we maybe should not have been as surprised when we got our editorial rejection this morning, citing the journal’s priority as “prioritizes experimental research that addresses fundamental mechanisms of general importance to comparative physiology and biomechanics“.
In our opinion, we have presented a fundamental mechanism as well as experimental research, but it’s synthetic not comparative. The journal historically has published quite some biomechanics, which the editor admits, but states further that this research “must provide mechanistic insights that are broadly applicable in a comparative context.”

The second shortcoming of our paper is, that it explains the (quite uniquely pronounced) double humped force pattern in humans by foot function and ignores “other striding bipedal animals [which] also show double-humped forces in walking gaits.” We are certainly aware of that but see clear functional distinction of human bipedal walking to the gait of all other walking animals which is at the core of the rather large force humps.

Finally the editor critisizes that “The model might fit human data well, but it does not appear to provide new insight that is applicable in a comparative biomechanics context. Additionally, the paper does not present new experimental data.” Thus, the focus on the JEB seems to be reporting novel experimental data which compares physiology and biomechanics – it might want to consider changing titles to “Journal of Comparative Biology”, but wait! This journal already exists!.

We are not sure, why – but the statement Throughout its long history, Journal of Experimental Biology has had an unbroken association with the field of biomechanics, from Sir James Gray to McNeil Alexander and Dick Taylor.” seems not to be true anymore and the association with great functional biomechanists seems finally broken, which might be due to the succession of editors after Andy Biewener.