The year 2018 marks the 165th birthday of Journal of Cell Science. The journal has seen many substantial changes since its inception, including the change of name in 1965 from the somewhat laborious ‘Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science’ to ‘Journal of Cell Science’. Over the past year alone, we have introduced a number of changes that were designed to strengthen our ties with early-career researchers and improve the experience for our readers and authors. In addition to our popular Cell Scientists to Watch series, in which we interview talented researchers who have recently set up their own labs, we now also feature ‘First Person’ interviews with the first author(s) of a selection of papers in each issue.

In January 2017, together with Guest Editor Andrew Ewald, we published a special issue focused on ‘3D Cell Biology’. Following on from its success, we will be publishing a special issue each year. Look out for our ‘Plant Cell Biology’ special issue in January of this year, guest edited by Jenny Russinova. There is also still time to submit a paper to our ‘Reconstituting Cell Biology’ special issue, guest edited by Manuel Théry. The closing date for submissions is February 15th.

In spring, we introduced ‘format-free’ submission as part of our commitment to make submission as easy as possible for authors. You can submit your manuscript for assessment in any format and, as part of this change, we removed the Materials and Methods from our article length limit because we don't want to limit the transparency and reproducibility that comes from having a comprehensive Materials and Methods section.

May 2017 heralded the first Journal of Cell Science Meeting. Editor-in-Chief Michael Way, together with Editorial Advisory Board members Elizabeth Chen and Margaret Gardel, and Handling Editor Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, organised ‘Cellular dynamics: membrane-cytoskeleton interface’ in Southbridge, MA. Bringing together a diverse group of researchers for 3 days of intense and stimulating talks, the overwhelming response was that we need to do it again. We therefore invite you to apply for a place at ‘Cellular dynamics: organelle-cytoskeleton interface’, being held May 19-22, 2019 at the Pestana Palace Hotel in Lisbon. Organisers Michael Way, Edgar Gomes, Heidi McBride and Sharon Tooze promise an excellent line-up of speakers in a beautiful location – keep an eye out for further announcements.

Many of our changes have been made specifically with our authors and readers in mind, and often follow on from feedback we receive. In response to many queries, for example, Journal of Cell Science now offers expedited ‘fast-track’ decisions (within a week) for previously reviewed manuscripts that are submitted with reports. We also expanded our ‘Tools and Techniques’ section to become ‘Tools and Resources’ after many of you enquired about resource-type manuscripts.

In deciding where next to focus, we noted the community's growing interest in preprints, and so will have an exciting announcement in this regard in early February. We also surveyed the community, and found that the top priority was speed to publication. Although we do already post accepted manuscripts online shortly after acceptance, we decided that we could offer an even better service to authors and readers by ensuring that the best and final version of an article is available online as soon as possible. We have therefore moved to a continuous publication model. What this means is that we will build issues over a 2-week period with articles published as soon as they are ready instead of waiting for the final corrected proofs of all accepted articles before publishing an issue. For more information on continuous publication, please see our FAQs page (http://jcs.biologists.org/content/continuous-publication-faqs). A further benefit for readers is that we can offer more flexible alerting, with daily, weekly and issue-close updates available. Alert preferences can be updated at http://jcs.biologists.org/alerts.

It is also important to note that the European Union has introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR; see http://www.biologists.com/what-is-gdpr/ for more details), so to ensure that you continue to hear about our journal meetings, special issues, calls for papers and other journal news, we would encourage you to sign up for news alerts at http://www.biologists.com/subscribe.

We hope that 2018 is a happy and successful year for all of our authors and readers. This year brings many new changes for Journal of Cell Science, but some things will remain as they are, such as our commitment to not charge authors to publish with us. We also always welcome all feedback on our initiatives, so please do get in touch at any time at jcs@biologists.com and have your say in setting our direction for the coming years.