We continuously try to improve our journal, but are we succeeding? A readers’ survey was carried out by our publishers, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW), with the American Heart Association’s (AHA) endorsement by direct mail, by e-mail, and through a banner ad on Stroke’s home page. The aim was to determine subscribers’ and nonsubscribers’ perceptions and attitudes toward the journal and to current, new, and planned features, and to verify the readers’ demographic profiles.
The overall response rate was 11.3%, bettering the goal of 10%. Overall, 92% of respondents reported being either “extremely satisfied” or “satisfied” with the current features and contents of the journal. Commonly used adjectives were “comprehensive,” “focused,” “informative,” “current,” “interesting,” “quality,” “relevant,” and “up-to-date.” Ninety-one percent were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to recommend Stroke. Ninety percent thought that our journal was “much better” or “better” than other journals; 61% were “most interested” in clinical research, 60% in clinical practice, and 18% in basic science.
On balance, our readers liked the new features that we have introduced: Advances in Stroke, Cochrane Corner, Controversies, and Research Reports.
Regarding potential new features, 57% of respondents were most interested in peer-reviewed, critically appraised topics (CATS) and 15% in continuing medical education (CME).
The readership favored separating clinical and basic science articles and providing additional headings for the types of article according to areas. Stroke is a journal that publishes “reports of clinical and basic investigation of any aspect of the cerebral circulation and its diseases from many disciplines.” Providing subspecialized labels only encourages further fragmentation of knowledge, interests, and efforts. While we follow a general sequence of epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, rehabilitation, prevention, basic science, and health policy, in sequencing the articles, we cluster them according to topics and across categories, and we commission editorial comments that may add context, facts, and interpretation.
Overall, readers think that we are on the right track. Many thanks to them, the AHA, and LWW. We shall work even harder to continue to earn our readers’ approval in an ever-changing, competitive publishing environment.