A Progress Report
This is a report summarizing the first few months of our editorship. The commonest complaint that we hear about the Journal is that it takes too long to publish papers. The time from acceptance to publication has been up to 8 to 9 months, which clearly is too long. You may have noticed that issues of ATVB have been larger for several months to allow us to publish the backlog of accepted papers. The time from acceptance to publication has now been reduced to approximately 4 months and soon will be reduced to approximately 3 months. Rapid Communications can be published in an even shorter time. This spring, when all of the papers in the backlog have been published, the Journal will return to its usual size.
We believe that, as the time to publication is reduced, authors will be more inclined to send their “hot” papers to the Journal. We, therefore, urge you to submit those papers to the Journal. We also will continue to speed up the review process. The time to first decision now is about 6 weeks, and we expect to reduce it further.
How can we reduce and maintain the time from acceptance to publication to 3 months or less? We will need to avoid reaccumulation of the backlog. One way to publish more papers, and more rapidly, is to shorten the papers. As indicated in Instructions to Authors in this issue, the number of words in each manuscript now will be limited to 5000. In addition, the limit on the number of figures and tables to 6 will be enforced. For some papers, it will be possible to publish additional figures, tables, or text as on-line supplemental material.
A more difficult decision is what number and percentage of papers should be published. The number of manuscripts submitted to ATVB has increased almost 5-fold in the past 10 years. The increase in manuscripts reflects the widening of the topics published in the Journal and the impressive progress in each area of research (arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology). Because the Journal is generally recognized as the leading Journal in its area, the steady increase in number of manuscripts suggests that authors are increasingly inclined to submit manuscripts to the Journal. Thus, we are delighted with the remarkable growth in the number of manuscripts submitted.
The virtual explosion of manuscripts submitted presents a problem, as well as an opportunity. Should the Journal publish more manuscripts, or should the percentage of papers accepted be allowed to continue to decline? We have chosen to do both. Many more papers are being published, to shorten the time to publication, and more papers will continue to be published, as the papers are shortened and portions or entire manuscripts are published on-line. The percentage of papers accepted also will decline. Thus, manuscripts that are technically rigorous but are judged by the reviewers, editorial board, and editors to be not of high priority, will not be published in the Journal. Although this is regrettable in some ways, we expect that rising standards will further improve the overall quality of the Journal. Our intent, by shortening manuscripts, publishing more papers, and allowing the percentage of papers accepted to decline, is to prevent reaccumulation of a backlog, allow rapid publication, increase readability of the papers, and further improve the quality of the Journal.
To obtain greater expertise in review of population studies, the Editors have asked Drs Lewis Kuller and Charles Sing to serve as Consulting Editors. We are grateful that they have agreed to advise the Editors about suitability for publication of manuscripts that describe population studies.
This spring, Professor Goran Hansson and his Stockholm team will take over from Professor Giulio Gabbiani as a European ATVB office. Professor Hansson, who is Chairman of the European Vascular Biology Association, has served previously as Associate Editor for the Journal. He will be assisted in Stockholm by Professors Ingemar Björkhem, Ulf de Faire, Anders Hamsten, and Johan Thyberg. Professor Gabbiani has done a superb job, particularly in emphasizing vascular biology in the Journal, and his European office in Geneva now receives about 1/3 of the manuscripts submitted to the Journal. We thank you most sincerely, Giulio!
(Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2000;20:1.)\