Notes From the Incoming Editor
In 3 previous installments of “Notes from the Incoming Editor,” I introduced a range of new initiatives to be featured in Circulation starting June 29.1–3 I refer interested readers to those short articles in which I introduced several new content categories, including Frame of Reference and State of the Art. We have presented our model of globally distributed editorial leadership, which is central to our goal of leveraging the intellectual and creative energy of thought leaders worldwide and optimally engaging professionals globally. Last month, we introduced the Circulation “doodle,” an initiative to interject a bit of fun into the publishing process and to smoke out the artists in our midst.
Revised Review Process
The 6Circulation subspecialty journals and theJournal of theAmericanHeartAssociation are approaching 10 years in existence. Each is doing very well, and each is now fully independent, attracting a robust array of high-quality direct submissions (as opposed to referrals from Circulation). In light of this, we are currentlypositioned to be even more responsive to our readers by providing early, internal editorial decisions on new submissions that are unlikely to have sufficient priority for Circulation or for one of the subspecialty journals. Obviously, no one enjoys a rejection letter, but it is better to receive one at 3 days than after several weeks. We will reject without review a larger fraction of submissions as a service to our authors, demonstrating respect for their valuable time; if a paper is deemed not to be a suitable fit for Circulation, the authors will learn this early on and can proceed to another journal. Perhaps even more, this initiative is a service to our reviewers, accomplished investigators who toil behind the scenes reviewing papers to support science and the journal.
We will move toward a model in whichwe ultimately send out for external review a fraction of submitted papers, ones that have an ≈ 20% chance of acceptance at Circulation and perhaps a 40% chance of publication within the Circulation family of journals. We will not burden our reviewers with papers that have little chance of publication; rather, we will send out for external evaluation our very best submissions and ask our reviewers to help make them better. We do this out of respect for the time and energy our reviewers devote to this most vital element of the publication process.
Without question, one factor in the mind of a submitting author has to do with how open-ended the reviews will be and how passive the editors are. Will they ask for more and more and more? To address this, we have established a policy that critiques are not open-ended. If a paper is critically flawed, then we will indicate such. If, however, it can be improved, we will work with reviewers to highlight a limited number of critical changes— new data, additional controls, new statistical analyses, etc— while also providing other comments that can be addressed at the discretion of the authors. This will require that our editors be highly engaged in analyzing the reviewers’ comments and prioritizing their suggestions; this is our firm commitment.
In recent years, manuscript retractions have increased across a wide range of journals and disciplines. Much has been written about the lack of data reproducibility. Leveraging the initiatives already in place in the journal, we will begin to usestate-of-the-art procedures to police data published in Circulation, including using image analysis software to detect image manipulation (eg, spliced gels). Moving forward, we will require that authors submit images of full, uncut autoradiograms with molecular weight markers. In studies with substantial statistical analysis, we will continue Circulation’s long-standing policy of rigorous statistical review.
Earn the Support and Loyalty of Readers
With our global leadership strategy, we intend to grow and enhance our interactions with the worldwide cardiovascular community. Going forward, Circulation has recruited editorial leaders in Europe, Asia, Canada, South America, and Africa, and each of these editors has a role equivalent to that of the editors based in the United States. Positioned this way, we intend to learn from our customers, wherever they are, and tosituate ourselves optimally to meet their needs. This is a fundamental platform of our new approach.
Expect to see a relatively informal style of interaction from our editors. For example, as we commission invited content, we will reach out to prospective authors to dialogue, by email or otherwise, to flesh out an idea, todiscuss how best to position the proposed content within the journal, and tostrategize authorship and timeline. This back-and-forth interchange before a formal invitation from the journal will hone the content and capture input from the thought leaders we are inviting.
Similarly, expect to see more personalized communications from the journal editors, who will reach out to you at meetings to encourage submission of your best work, providing you with a personal contact within our leadership team. These communications may occur before, during, and even after publication. We view these exchanges as collaborations in which we seek the same as our authors: rapid and widespread dissemination of the best science.
We have already made changes to the electronic submission system, such that Circulation is now one of the easiest journals to which to submit. Henceforth, we do not expect thata paper will adhere to formatting rules, word limits, or figure limits at the time of submission. The reality is that we cannot publish the vast majority of papers we receive, and we will not require authors to adhere to our formatting requirements at the front end. For papers that move forward, we will most certainly ask authors to adhere to our formatting requirements, but again, this is a small minority of submissions. Thus, send us your best work, and we will provide an expeditious evaluation of whether we will move ahead with full review. If your paper was a near miss at a high-profile general medical journal, we encourage you to send it to us, and we have made it easy to do so.
Under the capable leadership of Amit Khera, we will enhance our use of electronic media to communicate broadly and rapidly. People capture biomedical content by different means, and we will harness them all. This will include a significantly enhanced websiteand augmented use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more). We hope to make access to Circulation content easy, fluid, and supportive of readers of all stripes.
With the use of emerging technologies, a document takes on new dimensions, allowing a reader to deviate from the flow of the text to drill down into areas of special interest or lack of familiarity. Indeed, electronic articles take on a fourth dimension (time), such that they can highlight new publications, corrections, and sadly, retractions. Early on, watch some of our content come to life via Blippar (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blippar/id410604563?mt=8). Looking to the future, we foresee a day when Circulation content becomes an evolving and living piece of work.
We have an abiding commitment to foster involvement of our junior colleagues in the publication process. We welcome submissions from fellows to the ECG Challenge and Cardiovascular Case Series sections. We believe that our relatively informal style of interaction in terms of content solicitation will enhance the involvement of our junior colleagues. In our section titled Highlights From Major Meetings, we encourage our junior colleagues to partner with more senior professionals to prepare 500-word summaries of the hot topics discussed at meetings around the world. And of course, many of the noncorresponding authors of original content published in the journal will be trainees.
I am especially excited about our new podcast initiative. Under the creative and energetic leadership of Carolyn Lam, we will release weekly podcasts called “Circulation on the Run.” Carolyn will host each week’s recording and provide a brief overview of that issue’s content. Then, she will discuss in greater depth a paper selected by the senior editors for special emphasis, interviewing the author(s), the associate editor who handled the paper, and when relevant, the editorialist who placed the study in perspective. This “backstage pass” to the highlighted paper will bring out aspects of the study and its editorial processing that readers would not otherwise see. Of authors, we might ask “What was your motivation to conduct this work?” “What are your next steps?” Of the editor, “What about this paper excited you and won you over such that you were committed to advocating on its behalf before the editorial team?” “How do these new findings fit into the larger picture of the field presently?”
In fact, our first introductory podcast is alreadyavailable for download (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/circulation-on-the-run/id1108662449). I encourage you to download it and to subscribe online (readers of the print journal can access it by QR code;Figure).
Our vision is that these podcasts will provide at once an overview of each journal issue, a peek behind the scenes of a particular piece of work, and perspective on its likely impact and place in the evolving literature. Because our readers are busy investigators and clinicians, podcasts will be limited to 15 minutes in duration. So watch for the next podcast, which will be released with our first issue on June 29.
Since April 1, our group has been handling all of the manuscripts submitted to the journal as part of the transition from the Boston-based leadership team. At the end of June, expect to see the novel initiatives I have discussed in my 4 Notes pieces, a new look and feel of the journal itself, and multiple new digital strategies. We are very excited about the upcoming launch, and we hope you are, too.
- © 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.