A Bold, New Initiative for Circulation
A Family of Subspecialty Journals
I am pleased to announce plans for a new publishing initiative at Circulation that will take effect this calendar year. Beginning in April, with subsequent launch dates throughout 2008, 6 new subspecialty journals will be published as part of the Circulation family of journals: Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology; Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics; Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging; Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions; Circulation: Cardiovascular Outcomes and Quality; and Circulation: Heart Failure.
The decision to embark on this new publishing venture was made after many hours of hard work and careful deliberation by the editorial staff at Circulation, the American Heart Association Scientific Publishing Committee, and the publisher, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Formal, unanimous approval was granted by the American Heart Association Board of Directors last October.
The decision to develop these new journals was predicated on several growing concerns that we believed urged a thoughtful response. First, the acceptance rate at Circulation remains in the 10% to 12% range. Many articles of excellent scientific quality are rejected on the basis of priority, which generally means that the topics presented in these articles are too narrow in scope for the general readership of Circulation. These priority-based rejections comprise approximately 20% of all submissions and largely fall into the 6 subspecialty disciplines represented by the new journals. Thus, we recognized that there is a clear need to offer a venue of the highest quality for publishing these manuscripts. Second, the field of cardiology, much like scientific publishing itself, continues to evolve into the narrowly defined subspecialty disciplines represented by the new journals. By establishing the new journals, we believe that we can provide a catalyst for a scholarly and clinical community that recognizes each of these subspecialty disciplines and its members. Third, we believe that these new journals will facilitate information-gathering by the cardiovascular communities they represent: Very busy practitioners and academicians seeking a venue in which to locate key publications in their discipline will find it within the Circulation family of journals. We will provide links to subspecialty articles published in Circulation that are relevant to each of the disciplines represented by these journals in order to ensure the readers that they have access to all of the important information they need as they attempt to keep up with these rapidly evolving cardiovascular subspecialties.
Some readers may ask why we need more journals. Although we certainly do not need more journals of average or lesser quality, the field can definitely benefit from additional subspecialty journals of the very highest quality. By adhering to the strict standards of Circulation in these new journals, we will ensure that we meet this goal to the satisfaction of our subspecialty authors and readers.
Some readers may raise the concern that, by establishing these new subspecialty journals, we are promoting growing divisions within the specialty. Although we recognize that this concern has some validity, we are also realistic and view the process of increasing subspecialization as a fait accompli. These subspecialty journals acknowledge this fact and offer to the subspecialty community the imprimatur of rigorous peer review and high publication standards that have been the hallmark of Circulation since its inception.
These journals will be published in electronic and printed formats, and each will appear bimonthly; however, all articles will also be posted online immediately on acceptance. The 6 journals will appear in stages throughout this calendar year. The first issues of Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology and Circulation: Heart Failure will appear in April; Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions and Circulation: Cardiovascular Outcomes and Quality will appear in July; and Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics and Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging will appear in September. Each journal will have its own editor and senior associate editor, both of whom will also serve as associate editors of Circulation. The overlap in editorial responsibilities between Circulation and the subspecialty journals will ensure that the same review standards are applied to submissions to all of the journals and that articles are published in the best possible venue with minimal competition between journals. Excellent subspecialty papers of broad appeal will continue to find a home in Circulation; our intention is to publish excellent subspecialty articles with a narrower scope in these new journals.
Each of the new journals will have its own editorial board and associate editors, and each will have special sections that partly mirror and partly are distinct from their counterparts in Circulation. Journal content will be independent of that in Circulation, which means that each journal will have its own home page, impact factor, PubMed listing, and circulation.
Operationally, each journal will have its own manuscript submission and peer review Web site, but after submission, manuscripts will be handled under the supervision of the Circulation editorial office staff (which will be enlarged to accommodate the expected increase in submissions). Authors have the option of submitting manuscripts exclusively to Circulation or to any one of the new journals. In addition, when authors submit a manuscript to Circulation that is viewed to be of the highest quality but unacceptable because of priority, they will be offered the opportunity to have their manuscript considered for publication in the appropriate subspecialty journal. Should the authors choose this route, no additional review process will be necessary: The Circulation reviews will serve as the initial evaluation for the Circulation subspecialty journal. Authors will be asked to respond to the Circulation reviewers’ comments and to submit a revision to the subspecialty journal before the subspecialty journal editor renders a final decision. Although acceptance in the subspecialty journal will not be guaranteed, this process will take far less time than resubmitting a manuscript de novo to another journal.
We are very excited about creating this family of Circulation journals and firmly believe that this is a path that most specialty journals will follow over time. We trust that the readers of the journal will share our enthusiasm and recognize that these initiatives reflect yet another dimension to the scientific information revolution with which we are all regularly confronted. We believe that these journals meet a need and will contribute in an important way to the dissemination of valid and important information useful for clinicians, researchers, and trainees alike. As we embark on this initiative, we look forward to receiving your constructive feedback, which will be essential for the optimal success of the new journals and the continued success of Circulation.
The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the American Heart Association.