Circulation Research Editors’ Yearly Report: 2001
After two and a half years at the helm of Circulation Research, we take this opportunity to reflect on the status of the journal. We are pleased to report that the journal continues to experience an increase in submissions (Figure 1). The number of original papers processed in 2001 was 1487, a new yearly record. Nevertheless, our efforts to maximize the information content of the printed page have succeeded to the degree that we have been able to avoid new length limits while keeping the acceptance rate steady (Figure 2).
From an operations viewpoint, Circulation Research pioneered the conversion to electronic operations among the American Heart Association Journals, including the implementation of online manuscript submission over the last year. This transition, along with our commitment to minimizing delays at the editorial level, has resulted in considerable and sustained improvements in efficiency relative to the historical norm and to competing journals. Figure 3 shows cumulative 12-month data for times to first decision. For all manuscript categories containing original data, the average time to first decision equaled 3.1 calendar weeks. A comparably brief time (3.2 weeks) was required to render first decisions on Reviews and MiniReviews. For accepted papers, the average time from submission to publication in the print journal for all original research articles remained extremely low at 20 weeks (Figure 4). This was due both to abbreviation of the time from submission to acceptance as well as a marked truncation of the publication lag (ie, the time from acceptance to publication). The year 2001 saw the implementation of Online First, our publish-before-print initiative, wherein manuscripts are posted online within 5 to 9 business days of acceptance. This initiative has lowered the time from submission to appearance in the public domain to an impressive 12.7 weeks.
Figure 5 shows the breakdown of final decisions for the 2001 calendar year. The overall acceptance rate during this period equaled 22.8%. The vast majority of these acceptances came from revised manuscripts or de novo resubmissions, as only 0.15% of initial decisions were acceptances. Note also that 3.7% of submissions were rejected as “inappropriate” at the editorial level, while another 11.5% were turned down after an accelerated “triage” evaluation in which the editors sought the opinion of at least one external reviewer. Most of these accelerated reviews were performed by Editorial Board members. Indeed, without the dedication of our Board and our reviewers in general, the efficiencies that we have been able to realize would have been impossible.
Figure 6 shows various measures of citation impact over the last 6 years. Figure 6A plots the impact factor. The year 2000 value of 9.193 reflects an increase over 1999 and a new record for the journal. Another, more telling, measure of impact is the fact that Circulation Research papers continue to be cited long after they have been published—the citation half-life of Circulation Research in 2000 equals 7.0 years (Figure 6B), the longest among the major cardiovascular journals. In fact, the “double product” of 64.35 (impact factor times cited half-life) for Circulation Research in 2000 consistently leads the pack among cardiovascular journals (Figure 6C), with the closest competitors coming in at 59.91 and 39.66.
The journal has also made significant strides toward achieving synergy with the American Heart Association and specifically with its Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences. The latter, at ≈5000 members, is the largest organization of fundamental cardiovascular scientists in the world. Tangible linkages include the fact that Circulation Research is now the official journal of the Council. Fellows of the Council subscribe to the journal and often serve as referees and/or contributors. Under the aegis of the Council and its program committee, the first Circulation Research Symposium, on the theme of proteomics, was held at the 2001 Scientific Sessions. Such symposia will recur annually and will feature topics of particular importance to cardiovascular medicine, with tie-ins to one or more Thematic Series (see Table). The Editors view these new linkages as win-win developments for the journal and for the American Heart Association.
Perhaps our most substantive innovation with regard to content has been the institution of Thematic Series of Reviews and MiniReviews. These series highlight emerging areas of broad interest to cardiovascular biology, each under the guidance of one or more guest editors. The Table lists the topics of the Thematic Series that are currently in progress in the journal.
Where is the journal headed? The Editors will continue to favor mechanistic research of broad interest to cardiovascular biology. We require technical excellence, but we have rejected many technically outstanding papers that have fallen short of providing major insights into mechanism. We will continue to maintain a healthy balance of vascular biology and myocardial biology, remaining ever-receptive to areas of scientific opportunity and innovation, whatever the tissue. The Editors welcome work on human subjects, as long as it illuminates fundamental pathophysiology and pathogenesis. In fact, the journal has published 12 articles in its Clinical Research section over the past 12 months, with more to come. Finally, the Editors welcome your suggestions and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ↵SCI® Journal Citation Reports®: a bibliometric analysis of science journals in the ISI® database. Philadelphia, Pa: Institute for Scientific Information, Inc®; 2000.