This issue brings to an end another busy but successful year at The Journal of Experimental Biology. Much has happened during this time, both within the pages of the journal and in the Editorial Office.

The journal's impact factor, after teetering for many years at just under 3.0, finally broke this magic barrier, and we were awarded a two-year impact factor of 3.040 for 2010; our five-year impact factor also increased to our best-ever value of 3.424. We sincerely thank all our authors, reviewers and editors for their many contributions to the journal, which have made this milestone possible.

We have had another successful year of coverage in the international media, with features in a range of science journals, broadsheet newspapers, TV, radio and online. High-profile stories included the discovery that fleas push off with the tarsus, that diving bell spiders use their air bubble to extract oxygen from water like a gill and that koalas bellow boastfully about their size. Coverage of these, and other, stories featured in the press can be found in the ‘JEB in the News’ section on the journal website.

Our new Methods & Techniques section – reporting innovative methodological advances or significant modifications to recognized methods of data collection and analysis – has proved popular with authors, with over 40 manuscript submissions and seven published articles since the section launched in January. We also continued our annual ‘special issue’ series, with a volume of Review articles on The Biology of Energy Expenditure.

2011 saw the re-launch of the journal website, when we upgraded from the existing HTML-based Web 1.0 technology to new XML-based Web 2.0 technology, providing what we hope is a more user-friendly interface. In addition to improved navigation across the site – both within an individual article and between articles and other journal information – we have introduced a number of new features, including: the Top 10 Most Cited and Top 10 Most Read (i.e. downloaded) articles within the journal each month; the JEB Special Issues collection (featuring all JEB special issues published since 1979); and Editors' Choice (in which one paper each month is made freely available without subscription for 28 days after publication). We have also tried to make it easier to keep track of individual articles – both your own and those of colleagues – with the introduction of related article searches (by keyword, author or subject classification) from within an individual article and the inclusion of a ‘Citing Articles’ feature (linking directly to articles citing the current paper listed in Web of Science and Google Scholar) and a ‘Social Bookmarking’ option (allowing users to save and share bookmarked articles).

The Editors and Staff of JEB. From left to right: (back row), Hans Hoppeler, Ken Lukowiak, Craig Franklin, Steve Perry, Raul Suarez; (middle row) Sue Chamberlain, Janis Weeks, Julian Dow, Andy Biewener, Emma Kelly, Kate Vaughan; (front row) Claire Moulton, Lisa Carvalho, Michaela Handel, Kathryn Knight, Michael Dickinson, Sarah Sharpe.

The Editors and Staff of JEB. From left to right: (back row), Hans Hoppeler, Ken Lukowiak, Craig Franklin, Steve Perry, Raul Suarez; (middle row) Sue Chamberlain, Janis Weeks, Julian Dow, Andy Biewener, Emma Kelly, Kate Vaughan; (front row) Claire Moulton, Lisa Carvalho, Michaela Handel, Kathryn Knight, Michael Dickinson, Sarah Sharpe.

As many of our readers now access the journal via hand-held devices, we have also launched a mobile-optimised website specifically designed to facilitate viewing on smaller screens; just visit jeb.biologists.org from your iPhone or Android phone.

The Editorial team has seen some changes during the year, as we said goodbye to the longest-standing member of the team and welcomed new colleagues. In January, Craig Franklin joined the board of journal Editors. Based at The University of Queensland, Australia, Craig is the journal's first Editor from the southern hemisphere and brings an additional dimension to the team with his expertise in physiological ecology and conservation physiology. In February, Margaret Clements retired after an association with the journal spanning more than three decades. Margaret was a familiar presence on the JEB exhibition stand at conferences and deftly oversaw the progress of thousands of manuscripts through peer review in her role as Senior Editorial Administrator. Following her departure, we welcomed Sue Chamberlain, who has quickly become a key member of the team.

So, what are our plans for JEB in 2012? As always, our aim is to continue to be at the forefront of comparative physiology and integrative biology by publishing the best research in this fascinating and relevant area. We will also continue to draw attention to the interest and value of comparative research by making this research available to the public media.

In order to make papers available to readers as soon as possible, we are introducing the online posting of author manuscripts within a few days of an article being accepted. Author manuscripts will be replaced (although still accessible on the website) when the fully copyedited, redacted manuscript is published as part of a journal issue.

Based on our 2011 JEB Symposium held in Cambridge, UK, we will be publishing a special issue on ‘Biophysics, Bioenergetics, and Mechanistic Approaches to Ecology’. Edited by Guest Editor Mark Denny, this compendium of articles looks at the role of mechanistic approaches in the study of ecology, ranging from the mechanics of individual molecules to whole ecosystems.

And, of course, we will be attending a number of conferences throughout the year, as well as providing our usual complement of travelling fellowships, direct travel grants and sponsorship to students, scientists, meetings and societies. If you are attending the SICB meeting in Charleston, SC, USA in January or the SEB meeting in Salzburg, Austria in June, we would love to see you at the JEB exhibition stand, where you will be able to pick up lots of JEB ‘goodies’, including our book of ‘Highlights’ from 2011, the 2012 JEB ‘shark’ T-shirt, and a new compilation of ‘JEB Classics’, in which current researchers in the field discuss classic articles published in the journal between 1955 and 1968.

In the meantime, on behalf of all the editors and staff of JEB, we wish you seasons' greetings and a happy and productive 2012!