ASHG Open Access Journal, HGG Advances, Continues to Make Strides as It Approaches First Year Anniversary

With HGG Advances approaching its first-year anniversary of publication, there is a lot to reflect on as it continues to grow upon its readership and submission base looking ahead to its second year. The open access journal, launched in 2020, set out with a mission to eliminate barriers to access, making scientific research available online for anyone, anywhere, to read immediately upon publication. This is a critical component for science as it allows the sharing of research to be wide and it can lead to possible breakthroughs and advances in the human genetics and genomics field.

Michael Bamshad, MD
Michael Bamshad, MD, Editor-in-Chief of HGG Advances

ASHG caught up with Editor-In-Chief, Mike Bamshad, MD, on his takeaways over the past year and some of the successes achieved by the publication. “I think there have been many high points over the first year of publication of HGG Advances,” he said. “Launching a new scientific journal at any time is hard but doing so as a pandemic forced closure of labs and academic institutions all over the world brought with it unprecedented challenges. So foremost, I’m delighted that we’re here after a year and doing very well. This is really a testament to the support of the ASHG membership, the thoughtful planning of ASHG’s leadership, and expertise of the editorial staff. Of course, none of this would be possible without the diverse, young, energetic board of Associate Editors who not only carefully guide manuscripts through the editorial process but serve as our ambassadors to researchers and clinicians worldwide.”

The new open access journal received strong engagement throughout the year from the ASHG community with impactful submissions that were published. Dr. Bamshad expressed his excitement in continuing to see the engagement from the member community and expressed the importance of receiving submissions that cover the breadth of science. “We saw quite a few highly impactful research manuscripts that have been published to date in HGG Advances in areas such as gene discovery, cancer genetics, statistical genetics, population genetics, and health-related policy,” he said. “So, I think the biggest highlight is that HGG Advances is publishing research across a very broad range of topical domains. To me this demonstrates engagement with the breadth of the ASHG community of researchers and hopefully the journal will meet their expectations and beyond.”

The journal also saw a spike in submissions over the summer that can be attributed to a number of factors but most importantly showcase the journal’s growth of awareness within the ASHG community and beyond. This provides an encouraging outlook as it enters its second year. “I think there are multiple reasons [for seeing a spike in submissions] including but not limited to greater awareness of HGG Advances, our track record of robust scientific publications, the ease with which papers submitted to AJHG can be transferred to HGG Advances, and a discounted article processing charge,” Bamshad said.

Noura Abul-husn, PhD
Noura Abul-husn, PhD

With submissions on the rise, the importance of submitting to an open access journal remains critical for the field of human genetics and genomics. HGG Advances Associate Editor, Noura Abul-husn, PhD, weighed in with her thoughts on the benefits of not only submitting to an open access journal but provided her insight on the positive impact it has on the field and the way we look to publish and share scientific studies. “A major benefit of publishing in an open access journal is the wider dissemination of research findings, which can lead to increased readership and engagement, more potential collaborators, and broader impact,” she said. “This is particularly meaningful in genomic medicine, a rapidly evolving and highly collaborative field that benefits greatly from global and interdisciplinary interactions.”

Jason Vassy, MD, MPH
Jason Vassy, MD, MPH

HGG Advances published author, Jason Vassy, MD, MPH, submitted an  article on polygenic risk scores in July of 2021, and also shared similar sentiments as he reflected on the positive affect open access journals, like HGG Advances, have had on his research. “My work examines the outcomes of integrating novel genetic or genomic testing technologies into primary care settings, including pharmacogenetic tests, polygenic risk scores, and incidental actionable genetic results,” he said. “In submitting to HGG Advances, I knew that my work would benefit from expert peer review and wide dissemination among ASHG members and the broader genetics community. Publishing in an open access journal not only increases the accessibility and reach of my work; it also demonstrates good stewardship of the public funds supporting the research.”

As HGG Advances forges ahead into its second year, there is a lot of great excitement and momentum to build off of in the years to come. Dr. Bamshad shared his thoughts on what’s on the horizon for the journal and some of the shared goals he and the editorial staff are working towards in this next year. “We’re really excited about the launch of a new forum called “We’re right here: embracing diversity and centering equity in genomic science and medicine,” he said. “It’s a place for publishing perspectives, commentaries, and reviews about issues related to equity, diversity, inclusivity and accessibility in human genetics and genomics research. The forum reflects one element of a larger commitment of HGG Advances to equity as a key guiding principle in its scholarly and daily operations and this means consideration of topics, editorial board, reviewers and needed supports for greater diversity and inclusion. In year two we also anticipate developing content as well as new guidelines and policies for HGG Advances that support progressive attitudes towards open data sharing and regulatory issues such as informed consent.”

Membership in ASHG is not a prerequisite for publication in HGG Advances, but corresponding authors who are members at the time the manuscript is sent to press receive a 20% discount on article publication charges. If you are not a member of  ASHG, join or renew your membership in the Society here. In addition, anyone looking to submit to the journal may use the code “HGGA100” in their cover letter to receive an additional $100 off their submission fees. This discount is also combinable with the 20% discount offered to ASHG members.

To catch up on the latest issue of HGG Advances or to submit your own research, visit the HGG Advances website.

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