Early in this new year, the Editors wish to communicate to the readership some of the important goals for Circulation in the immediate future. The past several years have seen substantial changes in Circulation’s publication policies and opportunities for publishing important cardiovascular work. In 1995, Circulation changed from a monthly to a bimonthly publication. In 1999, Circulation became a weekly journal. The rationale for the more frequent publication of Circulation was the Editor’s sense that there should be a journal for cardiovascular work published weekly—one that would communicate the most important advances in both clinical progress and basic discovery as rapidly as possible. At the same time, we committed to relatively rapid review of manuscripts and communication of editorial decisions to authors. In an effort to further accelerate the publication of outstanding work in cardiovascular diseases, Circulation now is committed to the additional developments described below.
We have developed a Rapid Track category for the most important clinical and basic discovery manuscripts submitted to Circulation. On the request of the authors, a full-length manuscript may be accepted as a Rapid Track manuscript when it communicates important discovery, new insight into mechanisms, and/or new treatments for cardiovascular diseases. The manuscript is reviewed within one week, and a decision is communicated immediately to the authors. Accepted manuscripts are published online within 7 to 10 days after corrected proofs are returned from the author and in the print journal in 4 to 5 weeks. The emphasis for these manuscripts is on expedited review and communication of the editorial decision.
As of January 1, 2002, Circulation is publishing online in portable document format (PDF) all accepted clinical and basic science articles 7 to 10 days after the publisher has received corrected proofs from the author, and in print in 5 to 6 weeks. This is another effort to communicate important information to our readership in a timely manner. We refer to this rapid publication of accepted manuscripts as Rapid Access Publication, and we have provided immediate access to the PDF files by means of a radio button on the Circulation home page.
We shall continue to review Brief Rapid Communications (BRCs) submitted to Circulation. These manuscripts are reduced in length and communicate important and sometimes preliminary new discovery, insight, or treatment. We are committed to reviewing these manuscripts within two weeks of their receipt in the Circulation Editorial Office, and if accepted, they will be published by the same process as are all other accepted manuscripts. These manuscripts differ in that they are reduced in length and are intended to convey a relatively early important discovery, insight, or treatment.
On May 29, 2001, we published the first article in a new section intended to update clinicians about advances in clinical care for patients with cardiovascular diseases. Initially, this new section was called “Clinical Cardiology: Physician Update,” and now it is named “Clinician Update.” At the same time, Circulation began the Cardiology Patient Page, wherein we communicate to patients details about their cardiovascular diseases, evaluation, and treatment in a manner understandable by the lay public. We expect that with this information, patients will be able to play a greater role in considering diagnostic tests and therapies for their own diseases. They should also have a better understanding of their diseases and be better able to discuss their diseases with their families and friends. We plan to publish at least one Clinician Update and one Cardiology Patient Page each month, and more often when possible.
When the editorial offices for Circulation moved to Houston, Tex, the editors pledged themselves to innovation; timely communication of important discoveries, insights, and treatments; and publication of the best of the cardiovascular work submitted to Circulation. We also indicated that we wished to provide a journal for everyone interested in cardiovascular diseases. We now broaden that commitment by providing information of clinical relevance to patients themselves.
The Associate Editors of Circulation join me in affirming our continued commitment to these principles and to the further development of Circulation as a journal useful to all engaged in the war against cardiovascular diseases, including clinicians, nurses, technical associates, students, and patients. It is an enormous privilege to be the stewards of Circulation and to assist the American Heart Association in its educational mission.
Please make us aware when we fall short of our stated goals, and offer us suggestions for further improving the quality of the journal and the contribution Circulation makes. The Editors will continue to do all they can to make Circulation the journal that everyone concerned with cardiovascular diseases expects it to be.
The opinions expressed in this editorial are not necessarily those of the editors or of the American Heart Association.