Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 1999–2007
This year marks the end of the Iowa City/Fukuoka/Stockholm editorship for Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. As we look forward to the transition to new editors in a few months, we will look back on the growth of the journal. Since the first issue in 1981, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology has grown in length of title (from Arteriosclerosis), frequency (from bi-monthly), number of manuscripts received (now third among the five AHA journals), and impact factor (also third among AHA journals).
The major goal of our editorship has been to publish high-quality papers that scientists are eager to read. We built on the foundation laid by previous editors, Edwin Bierman (1981–1991) and Alan Fogelman (1991–1999). The journal arguably was and is the premier journal in studies of lipoproteins and mechanisms of atherosclerosis. We perceived that there was an opportunity to become the premier journal in vascular biology. In relation to thrombosis, we focused on developing ATVB as a leading journal for studies of the interaction of blood components with the blood vessel wall.
We will summarize some ways that we sought to achieve our goals, and objective parameters which suggest progress toward the goals. There is a great opportunity for Mark Taubman, the new editor, (and the scientific community that benefits from a strong journal) to facilitate the continued growth of the journal.
Goals of ATVB
Our intangible goals were to publish a journal that scientists look forward to reading and to which they are eager to submit their manuscripts. Intangible goals are personal, not universal, and therefore challenging to achieve. Some of our more specific goals were:
To become the leading journal in vascular biology
To emphasize timely topics. We have tried to identify and highlight “hot” areas of research with Editorials and Brief Reviews.
Readability of the Journal. We have organized the Journal into sections that relate to scientific interests of readers, to facilitate a quick scan of the table of contents.
Covers with a point. Cover figure are chosen to make a point and to be attractive to readers. We believe that authors enjoy seeing their work on the cover.
Quantitative goals and metrics are important for journals. The number of manuscripts submitted to the Journal has more than doubled in the past 8 years, and the speed to editorial decisions has increased greatly (Figure 1).
The quality of the Journal, judged by impact factor and immediacy index, also has approximately doubled (Figure 2).
In addition, a survey in 2004 indicated that 89% of readers were satisfied or completely satisfied with ATVB.
Some approaches to our goals involve shared responsibility, and representation of constituencies, innovations, and openness.
Overseas editors make all decisions about manuscripts without oversight from the Editor-in-Chief. It is remarkable that, despite decentralization, the percent of manuscripts accepted by each office was typically within 1% to 2%.
Representation of Constituencies
Each section of the Journal is represented by an expert advocate. In Iowa City, Arthur Spector and William Haynes generally are responsible for studies of lipoproteins/atherosclerosis, Frank Faraci and Donald Heistad for vascular biology, and Steve Lentz for thrombosis, and also for Brief Reviews. It also seemed important to have an advocate for human research, and William Haynes is a strenuous advocate. It is a delight to work with each of the Associate Editors and learn from them.
First, we initiated New Investigator Awards. We hope that these Awards for outstanding papers that are published in the Journal will provide encouragement to new investigators, and will assist them in their academic advancement. We hope that the Awards also will encourage scientists to submit their best work to ATVB, to compete for the award. Second, because we occasionally received manuscripts that were provocative but preliminary, we have encouraged a few authors to submit their findings from those studies as a Letter to the Editor.
Our editor and associate editors in Iowa City meet three times each week to discuss manuscripts. The discussions promote openness and uniformity of criteria for decisions. In addition, the discussions are great fun and educational.
When Giulio Gabbiani and James Scott completed their terms as European Editors, Goran Hansson agreed to serve as European Editor. His stature as a scientist and service as Chair of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine provide impeccable qualifications as an editor. The number of manuscripts submitted to the European office has increased greatly, and his stewardship of the office is impressive. It is a privilege and a pleasure to work with Professor Hansson. The operating procedure is similar in Stockholm and in Iowa City, with weekly meetings and stimulating discussions. The European Associate Editors cover a broad range of expertise. Ingmar Björkhem and Mats Rudling are responsible for lipoproteins, Anders Hamsten (until 2005) and Per Eriksson are responsible for thrombosis and genetics, Ulf de Faire (until 2005) and Anders Olsson for epidemiology and clinical studies, and Johan Thyberg (until 2004), Christer Betsholtz, and Göran Hansson for vascular biology and atherosclerosis. The Stockholm team has been supported by Zhong-qun Yan, assistant editor, and Tatiana Goriatcheva, editorial administrator, throughout its time of operation. Their hard work has been a decisive factor for the success of the European office.
In 1999, Akira Takeshita was appointed as first Asian Editor of ATVB, as recognition of the outstanding quality of research in Japan and of Professor Takeshita’s leadership. With Professor Ryozo Nagai, Associate Editor, the Asian office has flourished, as the number of manuscripts submitted to the Asian office increased greatly, and a link was established with the Japanese Medical Vascular Biology Association. As a direct result of Professor Takeshita’s efforts, with support from AstraZeneca, ATVB is now translated into Japanese, and 15 000 copies of the Journal are distributed to scientists.
Staff in the Editorial Offices are responsible for the remarkably efficient handling of manuscripts in Iowa City (Melissa Shrader and Connie Melsha), Fukuoka (Yoko Fukamatsu), and Stockholm (Tatiana Goriatcheva). Melissa Shrader also is amazingly effective in innovative activities of the journal. For example, she implemented the electronic tracking system for submission and tracking of manuscripts. This system was piloted by ATVB, and subsequently adopted by all AHA journals.
Population studies were a challenge for the editors in Iowa City, who are not expert in this area of research. Robert Hegele, Lewis Kuller, and Charlie Sing were appointed as Consulting Editors or to the Editorial Board, and their advice has been extremely useful. Ulf de Faire and Anders Olsson in Stockholm have been very helpful with advice and evaluation of epidemiological studies.
Mentoring as an Editor
Scientists have the great responsibility and privilege of helping the careers of other people. Carl Wiggers (Reminisces and Adventures in Circulation Research, 1958) wrote “This, learned I from the shadow of a tree, that to and fro did sway upon the wall – Our shadow-selves, our influence, may fall where we can never be.”
Trainees in the laboratory often are our most important opportunity for scientific mentoring. But I am pleased that it has also been possible as an editor to help new investigators. We initiated New Investigator Awards, appointed early investigators who are outstanding reviewers to the Editorial Board, and invited outstanding relatively-early investigators to write Brief Reviews.
I received a great education as Associate Editor of Circulation Research (from Frank Abboud), and as Associate Editor of Hypertension (from Allyn Mark). Arthur Spector (former editor of Journal of Lipid Research) and I have tried to teach Steve Lentz, Frank Faraci, and William Haynes about editing scientific journals. They are without a doubt qualified to become editors of major journals.
Assurance that an editor has full authority over the content of a journal seems comparable to the fundamental goal of academic tenure, which protects faculty against being fired for political reasons. One may not appreciate the enormous importance of editorial freedom, or academic tenure, until they are compromised.
Some recent, high-profile conflicts between editors and their supervisory bodies have led to the editors being dismissed from their positions. These incidents are most disturbing, because they threaten a basic tenet of science and scientific publications: a scientist may (and must) seek the truth, wherever the truth leads, and provide the findings to other scientists. Editors must protect and support scientists in this endeavor.
I am pleased to report that, as an editor, I have never experienced any attempt by the AHA, or anyone else, to compromise our editorial freedom. Furthermore, I am not aware that any of the editors of AHA journals have experienced attempts to compromise editorial freedom. In a world in which mutual respect and trust are too often diminished, and have led to abridgments of fundamental freedoms, it is reassuring that publication of AHA journals remains a bastion of editorial freedom.
The editors wish to think members of our Editorial Board, who advise us and spend countless hours reviewing manuscripts and providing helpful comments for authors. We especially thank our Stars and Superstars of ATVB, who are identified each year for the large number, and high quality, of their reviews. Robert Hegele has been truly amazing.
Stars of ATVB (reviewers who have reviewed more than 10 papers in 10 days or less): Cam Patterson, Nobuyuki Takakura, Toshihiro Ichiki, Coleen McNamara, PK Shah, Alan Tall, Christopher Jackson, Yoshiji Yamada, Nigel Mackman, Hiroaki Shimokawa, Qingbo Xu, Philip Barter, David Hui, Matthew Allison, John Crouse, Theodore Mazzone, Masanori Aikawa.
Superstars of ATVB (reviewers who have reviewed 25 or more papers in 6 days or less): Robert Hegele and Masataka Sata.
We thank the Consulting Editors who, when the editors may have a conflict of interest, are completely responsible for review and editorial decisions about manuscripts. Alan Fogelman has been especially helpful as a Consulting Editor.
We also thank Reviewers of manuscripts, authors for submitting their work to ATVB, and our readers and subscribers. We are indebted to the AHA Scientific Publishing Committee for its strong support of the Journal. Staff at the AHA (especially Stephen Prudhomme), at Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins (especially Kevin Fitzpatrick), and at Cadmus have been of great help in our attempts to introduce new features, and to accelerate publication of the journal.
Overall, we are pleased with the progress of ATVB during the eight years of our editorship. The quality of papers is excellent, especially in relation to other journals that focus on atherosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology. The editors have initiated several new projects and directions for the Journal. The editors are honored to have served the AHA and the scientific community, and look forward to continued growth and exciting new initiatives by Mark Taubman, the new editor.