Over 9 years ago I was asked to become the fifth Editor-in-Chief of Stroke. Eight and a half years ago, the first issue with the new editorial board was published. In 1996, the original 5-year appointment was extended for the first time for 3 additional years. This later was extended for an additional year at the request of the Editor-in-Chief designee, Vladimir Hachinski. Although this will be the last issue, the 102nd, in which this editorial board will appear on the masthead, we will continue to handle manuscripts in process for the rest of 2000.
From the beginning, we were blessed with an outstanding team. Amongst a number of evolutionary changes, two new associate editor categories were established to assure basic scientists and European contributors that they were represented. Hermes Kontos agreed to accept the position of Associate Editor for Basic Science and Marie-Germaine Bousser that of Foreign Associate Editor (Europe). When José Biller came to Indiana, he became the Clinical Associate Editor, and Askiel Bruno replaced him as Abstracts Editor. A distinguished group of Consulting Editors was appointed, including past editors and associate editors. Also, most critical to the nuts and bolts of running a journal, Marilyn Michael Yurk accepted the post of Managing Editor and has run the day-by-day operations from the beginning. She developed an outstanding team with the assistance of the current Associate Managing Editor, Norma Pahl. The quality of the published manuscripts is the result of a superb editorial board and the large number of outstanding referees who have spent countless hours reviewing and critiquing the original submissions and, in some cases, multiple revisions. During these years, Stroke has had an exceptional performance by every measurable criterion. These results are directly attributable to the outstanding performance of this team. As Editor-in-Chief, every day I thank my good judgment (luck) in having such outstanding support, and now is the time to publicly express my deepest appreciation to each and every member of this incomparable team.
It is seldom that at the end of a long journey one does not have some regrets, and it is even more unusual not to have some trepidation about who will lead the next segment. Drs Bousser, Kontos, Biller and I have no major regrets and are extremely pleased with the selection of Vladimir Hachinski as the sixth Editor-in-Chief of Stroke.
We could have done things differently, and the results might have turned out better, but they did turn out very well. Some regrets are beyond our control. We regret that we were not given more pages and were required to hold to a very low acceptance rate (31.5% in 1999) which has precluded our acceptance of some very good papers. Fortunately, these ultimately have been published in other cerebrovascular disease journals. We also wish that we could have found a corporate sponsor to replace the subsidy for subscriptions of Stroke for residents and fellows.
Although we cannot claim full credit for the favorable changes in quality measures, we are pleased that they occurred during our watch. Women and minority membership on the editorial board has increased to 42%. The number of manuscripts received has risen from 563 in 1991 to 1440 in 1999. This number has increased every year during the past 9 years. Despite these increases, the mean time from submission to first decision has decreased, from around 6 to about 4.5 weeks. On a scale of 1 to 6 (best 1), the average priority of published manuscript has been between 2.2 and 2.3.
We are particularly proud of the improvement in the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) citation index for Stroke. This citation frequency measurement for journal articles has progressively increased over the past 9 years to 4.88 in 1998 (last year available). Stroke is now competitive with other major neurology and peripheral vascular disease journals. It ranked third for peripheral vascular disease journals, after Circulation and Circulation Research. Among the major, much broader clinical neurological journals, only the Annals of Neurology was appreciably ahead of Stroke. Surveys of the readers and authors have been quite complimentary.
Despite opposition by some of the senior members, the blinding of the identity of authors and their institutions to reviewers has been widely lauded by young and mid-career investigators.
The establishment of associate editors for basic science and foreign editor for Europe has been well received by basic scientists and Europeans. Many clinicians particularly appreciate the editorial comments for basic science articles that place the basic science in clinical perspective.
The American Heart Association’s policy beginning in 1998 of having an illustration on the cover has been used whenever possible to send a message. This has been well received. Unfortunately, the first cover sent the shocking news of William Feinberg’s tragic death.
Even though we are pleased to be an international journal, with two thirds of the submissions coming from outside North America, we wish the subscriptions were similar. Approximately 62% of subscriptions are from the United States. A selected version of Stroke is published in Spanish in South America. As might be expected, most of the physician subscribers are neurologists (72%), but 28% represent other specialties. All AHA journals are now being published online.
Now, with some nostalgic sadness but with a great deal of elation for the future, it is time to say goodbye and to welcome Vladimir Hachinski as he takes over the leadership in difficult but promising times. Progress that occurred during our tenure evolved through the major contributions of previous editors, beginning with Clark H. Millikan, Founding Editor, 1970–1976, and progressing with Fletcher H. McDowell, 1977–1981, H.J.M. Barnett, 1982–1986, and Oscar M. Reinmuth, 1987–1991. Now we are particularly excited about the next chapter under the leadership of Vladimir Hachinski. He will lead Stroke into the electronic era. He is not only a premier clinician and brilliant scientist, but is also warm, well balanced, and extremely fair. Stroke is quite fortunate! Dr Hachinski has expressed a number of very good ideas that are exciting to us and will continue the theme expressed in our first editorial 81/2 years ago, “Evolution, Not Revolution.”1 During these times of major changes in publishing and the electronic revolution, Dr Hachinski is well suited to lead us into the future while staying focused on the primary reason for the journal, which is to evaluate and disseminate new knowledge.
So it is time for our team to say farewell and welcome a new and continuing era of progression of excellence.
- Copyright © 2000 by American Heart Association
Dyken ML. Evolution, not revolution. Stroke.. 1992;23:1–2. Editorial.