Vision for the New Circulation
The pace of present-day change is dizzying; rapid evolutions in technology, lifestyle and demographics, burgeoning information, and challenges to our planet surround us. Never before has humankind experienced such immense societal shifts. In the face of so much change, one theme remains constant: the primacy of cardiovascular disease as the number one killer, of both men and women, around the globe.
Plus ça change plus c’est la meme chose
This unfortunate reality is not for lack of assiduous effort, and robust success, at taming the acutely lethal manifestations of cardiovascular disease. Indeed, age-adjusted mortality from heart disease has declined a remarkable 75% over the past 50 years.1 This astonishing progress is the result of innumerable advances in our understanding of disease pathogenesis and intervention, culminating in a vast array of advances in prevention, diagnosis, and therapy.
Given this degree of success, how is it that heart disease remains the No. 1 killer, still leading in this deadly race? Several developments contribute. For one, we have succeeded in many instances in transforming heart disease from an acutely lethal condition (eg, myocardial infarction–induced sudden death) to a chronic disorder that can be managed for years (eg, heart failure). Furthermore, people are living longer, allowing for lifelong accretion of the insults of cardiovascular stress (eg, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus) and consequent progressive impact on the heart. Finally, spectacular deteriorations in lifestyle, especially the worldwide pandemic of “diabesity”, are an important contributor. Thus, just as society has benefited from significant gains in treating and preventing the acutely lethal effects of atherothrombotic heart disease, the rules of the game have changed, and cardiovascular disease has emerged with new challenges.
Never before has there been a time of greater challenge in cardiovascular science and medicine. Never before have we been equipped with such an extensive toolbox to tackle these challenges. As Dr Braunwald elegantly articulates in an accompanying Perspective,2 we face daunting hurdles and exciting opportunities at every turn.
In light of these realities, Circulation, the most storied journal in cardiovascular science and medicine, is undergoing bold new changes. Under the leadership of a new team of editors, the Journal is launching a wide range of initiatives to meet the needs, globally, of cardiovascular practitioners and investigators of all stripes.3–6 Circulation must enable our frontline assault on the challenges of our day.
First, we will strive to further enhance the Journal’s impact on cardiovascular science and medicine and, ultimately, on the care of patients. We will redouble our efforts around impact: not impact factor, an oversimplified and overemphasized metric of scientific quality. Rather, we will focus on the impact of an article on advancing clinical practice or cardiovascular science. Does this paper inform my practice of cardiovascular medicine? Does it help me better care for my patients? Does the article advance the field with novel insights? Does it change the way we think?
We will continue the Journal’s proud tradition of publishing across the spectrum of fundamental, translational, clinical, population, and health services research. Basic content will emphasize vertebrate models and disease-oriented studies. We will refocus the clinical content to emphasize relevance to clinical investigators and clinical practitioners. Special attention to important clinical trials will be provided. At the same time, we will seek to publish the highest quality population science, epidemiology, and “big data” research.
We have expanded Circulation’s editorial footprint into a worldwide leadership model. Editors with decision-making authority, leadership input, and creative effort are now positioned around the globe. Our team will have approximately one third of our Associate Editors based in Dallas, Texas, one third across the United States, and one third outside the United States. Each of these editors is a leader of the Journal; each is seated at the decision-making table; each is challenged with contributing creative energy to our mission. Our editors located outside the United States are charged additionally with ensuring that we meet the bidirectional needs of cardiovascular professionals in their region of the world.
The global leadership model we have established relies uniquely on electronic interactions: videoconferences, email, and teleconferences, leveraging technology to foster personal interchange. Likewise, we will interact with our authors, reviewers, and readers this way. Expect to see our global team of Circulation editors reaching out to you personally to discuss a potential review article, other commissioned content, and editorials. Expect to encounter these ambassadors at meetings to discuss submission of your best work to the Journal. Whereas we certainly cannot make commitments a priori to publish, you will have a name, face, and email address with which to interact, a direct and personal line to our leadership team.
Our editors have been challenged, and enabled, to innovate. From around the world, we have recruited a team that is not afraid to think in novel ways; indeed, we have strongly encouraged them to do so. Circulation will push the boundaries a bit. We will experiment with new ideas. Some will succeed, and some may fail, but we will not be afraid to innovate. Rather, we will learn what works and what does not and move forward. Circulation will never shy away from trying bold new initiatives, because the challenges we face are equally daunting.
We will foster renewed emphasis on responsiveness, transparency, and author loyalty. We will provide rapid internal reviews, such that papers that are not a good fit for the Journal will be returned to the authors in just a few days. This is intended as a service to authors, because we will not waste their time. Equally, if not more important, we will respect the time and effort of our reviewers, requesting their advice on only those submissions that we believe have the best chance of publication. We will maintain the very highest of standards and engage reviewers to make our content even better.
We will refine the review process so that reviewers cannot simply pile on demands for new studies and new experiments. Rather, our reviewers will be challenged to prioritize their comments, and our Associate Editors will decide, after having thoroughly digested the paper already, which comments must be addressed and which are optional.
We will introduce a host of new content categories designed to provide information relevant to your daily work, whether that be clinical medicine or research. We will present this information in a variety of formats designed to suit your needs, including brief essays, short debates, magazine-style features, case presentations, full-length review articles, podcasts, and interviews with legendary figures and authors. You will see some of these new initiatives in today’s print issue, and on our spectacular new website, as well (http://circ.ahajournals.org), with other features rolling out in the next few weeks and months. We look forward to your feedback about which of these new initiatives you find useful, and which you do not.
Note of Sincere Gratitude
We would not be having this conversation, or launching these initiatives, were we not positioned already at the pinnacle of cardiovascular publications. Indeed, with this issue of Circulation, the remarkable tenure of Joseph Loscalzo as Editor-in-Chief of Circulation draws to a close. Dr Loscalzo assembled a renowned group of international thought leaders to serve on his editorial team, and together they shepherded the Journal to new heights of greatness. Over a 12-year tenure, Dr Loscalzo not only set the standard for the highest quality in cardiovascular science, he also launched the 6 Circulation subspecialty journals and the Open Access journal JAHA (Journal of the American Heart Association), truly remarkable innovations in biomedical publishing.
During Dr Loscalzo’s tenure, submissions to Circulation increased substantially, the acceptance rate continued to fall, and the impact of Circulation and the subspecialty journals on cardiovascular medicine grew. In doing all this, Joe and his team have been instrumental in fostering the very advances to which I refer above. That he accomplished all this while serving as Chair of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, directing a busy and productive laboratory, and launching the AHA Cardiovascular Genome-Phenome Study (…and this list is not exhaustive) speaks volumes regarding the truly inspirational leader he is. We all owe him and his team a debt of gratitude, and I, personally, am at the top of that list.
Last, we pay tribute not only to Joe Loscalzo, but also his team of editors, and the Journal’s impressive managerial staff for their unwavering commitment to excellence in cardiovascular science and medicine. We also especially recognize the contributions of the late Joe Vita (Circulation Deputy Editor, inaugural editor of JAHA), who was instrumental to all of the success that Circulation has achieved. He will continue to serve as a role model and inspiration to a new team of editors long after the transition. We will do our utmost to continue the extraordinary legacy of Circulation and to expand even further the Journal’s influence and impact within the cardiovascular community. We are honored to assume this mantle of leadership from Dr Loscalzo and his team.
Circulation is available at http://circ.ahajournals.org.
- © 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.
- Braunwald E
- Hill JA
- Hill JA
- Hill JA
- Hill JA