We greatly appreciate the privilege and challenge of serving as stewards of Hypertension for the next 5 years. Serving the journal is a privilege because Hypertension, since its inception, has been the premier journal in its field. At the same time, we face the challenge of increasing competition from other cardiovascular and hypertension journals, and we must rapidly adapt to the growing movement toward electronic publishing. The fact that Hypertension serves a broad readership with diverse research and clinical interests is a challenge and an opportunity. Although it is unlikely that we will please everyone, we keep such a goal in mind. Our intention is to publish in Hypertension original research papers, reviews, and special articles of such high caliber that they will receive the highest approval of those most competent to judge them.
Hypertension was born in 1979 under the pioneering editorship of Harriet Dustan and her associate editors, Suzanne Oparil and Henry Overbeck, who clearly articulated the guiding principles of the journal:1
“Its editors are committed to developing a journal of high quality that is broadly based and covers all aspects of the field, not just a part of it—a journal that explores new areas, not just those that are already accepted as important. The field of hypertension is multidisciplinary, and the journal will serve a purpose only if it provides bridges among the many disciplines. It must stimulate thought and air scientific controversies. It must be a forum not only for results of laboratory investigation but also clinical research. It must inform its readers of events happening outside the laboratory and the medical center that may impinge on the ability to do research or on the care of hypertensive patients. It must serve the science of hypertension and promote the better care of hypertensive patients.”
Subsequent editorial teams have, fortunately, embraced these principles, and Hypertension has thrived despite the proliferation of other journals with similar research interests.
Hypertension, led by 4 outstanding teams of editors, has risen to many challenges over the 23 years of its existence and remains the premier journal in the field. In 1984, Edgar Haber and his associate editors, Victor Dzau, Robert Graham, and Randall Zusman, broadened the scope of the journal by rapidly incorporating the emerging discipline of molecular biology.2 Allyn Mark assumed the editorship in 1989 and, along with associate editors Gerald DiBona (who later served as editor-in-chief), Francois Abboud, Donald Heisted, and Larry Tobacman, brought a high level of efficiency to the review process. This team also emphasized an “attentive and collegial editorship” and the importance of service to the authors and readers.3 The most recent team of editors, Edward Frohlich, Gabriel Navar, and Richard Ré,4 further reduced the time for review of manuscripts and guided the journal to a record level of 1278 submissions for the year 2000, with even higher numbers expected for 2001. We are grateful to the previous editorial teams for Hypertension’s current strong foundation, and we plan to take full advantage of their talents and experience by inviting members from each team to serve as consulting editors.
The New Editorial Team
The new associate editors, Celso Gomez-Sanchez, Joey P. Granger, Daniel W. Jones, Friedrich C. Luft, and Curt D. Sigmund, are distinguished scientists and clinicians with considerable editorial experience, a commitment to excellence, and an understanding that we will work as a team rather than as 6 separate editors. We will be getting advice and help in achieving our goals from an outstanding and experienced group of consulting editors, including Victor J. Dzau, Gerald F. DiBona, Edward D. Frohlich, Toshiro Fujita, Richard P. Lifton, Thomas E. Lohmeier, Allyn L. Mark, and Suzanne Oparil. Our managing editor, Gerry McAlpin, and our associate managing editor, Cindy Means, both have several years of experience running the editorial office of another excellent journal and have worked closely with members of our editorial team.
Service to the Hypertension Research Community
We want Hypertension to effectively serve the Council for High Blood Pressure Research and other councils of the American Heart Association (AHA) that are interested in hypertension research. Therefore, we will work closely with the leadership of several AHA councils and have invited members of these councils to serve on the editorial board. We also want Hypertension to effectively serve the international research community. Over one half of the papers submitted to Hypertension emanate from countries other than the United States. One of our goals is to expand the influence of Hypertension as a leading international journal by making strong efforts to have international representation among the editors, consulting editors, and editorial board and by increasing the international readership of the journal.
Scientific Excellence, Impact, and Balance
One of our main goals is to ensure that Hypertension publishes the best research in the field. Although Hypertension has the highest Journal Citation Reports (JCR) scientific impact factor (5.3) of all journals in the hypertension field, its impact is not as high some other AHA journals. A reality of publishing is that scientists increasingly want their papers published in journals that are widely read and have the highest possible impact factor. Therefore, we have developed several initiatives aimed at increasing the readership and scientific impact of the journal. An impressive short-term impact factor, however, does not necessarily convey scientific excellence. Another mark of an outstanding journal is trustworthiness, a characteristic that we will strive to maintain for Hypertension through a careful and fair review process.
Although our main focus will be on publishing the highest quality original basic and clinical research relating to hypertension, we will also publish some articles that are mainly “practical” in their application to the treatment of hypertension. In the coming months, you will notice new features, such as “Hypertension Grand Rounds,” that will provide state-of-the-art clinical information. The journal would fail in one of its important functions if it did not encourage publication of articles that translate research into better treatment of hypertension. We believe that a balance can be struck between basic and clinical hypertension research and the application of research to clinical practice. We do not want to make the journal so exalted in its aims that only a handful of scientists want to read it. Nor do we wish for Hypertension to be a purely clinical journal that has little interest for the investigators who are advancing the boundaries of our knowledge. We will strive to maintain the proper balance of clinical and basic research and provide a journal that will be of interest to the entire hypertension community.
Putting Research in “Perspective”
Sometimes it is difficult for the average reader of scientific journals to understand the “bottom line” of a new research advance or the possible implications for future research, especially if the reader is not working in the same field as the author. We encourage authors to clearly articulate the broad implications of their work by including a brief (<250 words) “Perspectives” section at the end of each manuscript. Reasonable speculation on the importance of the work and future directions is also permitted in this section. In most journals, the discussion section serves mainly to draw conclusions that are obvious from the data, to consider technical problems, and to compare the work with the published literature. To include more than this often leads to the criticism of excessive speculation. This style gives a sterile tone to the work and provides little impetus for future work.
In his book Retrospectroscope,5 Julius Comroe, the great cardiovascular researcher and clinician, espoused the importance of speculation in advancing scientific knowledge:
“One problem here [in advancing scientific knowledge] may not be what’s in the published article, but what’s not in it. In the myriad of articles that appear yearly in our journals, what is usually not included is speculation—an author’s ideas or suggestions reached by contemplation, reasoning, conjecture, or surmise, but not yet supported by sufficient hard data to merit separate publication. I speculate that we might speed up the advance of science by inviting all authors to include some speculation, clearly labeled as such, in their scientific articles… .”
This is the main purpose of the new “Perspectives” section. We hope that authors will take this opportunity to illuminate their work and use “Perspectives” to replace the usual ending “In sum-mary… ,” that is found in most papers and usually serves only to restate what is already obvious to the reader. We want Hypertension to lead in publishing new concepts and controversies and to be a forum for the best research in the field.
Efficient and Fair Manuscript Reviews, Rapid Publication
An efficient and fair review process is an essential element of any successful journal. Currently, the time from submission to first decision is about 4.3 weeks. Although this compares favorably with many other journals, we plan to further shorten the time for processing, review, and publication by establishing a completely electronic, web-based online editorial office. We have already begun online submission, processing, and reviewing of manuscripts, and this will be the preferred means of handling all papers. To submit your manuscript online, please go to http://ahajournals.dbpub.com and follow the detailed instructions located on our submission web site. Access can also be gained by visiting Hypertension online at http://hyper.ahajournals.org and linking through our “Instructions to Authors” page. Although online submissions are preferred, those who do not have Internet access can continue to send us hard-copy manuscripts for a transition period. The online submission process has many advantages for authors and reviewers and, with appropriate safeguards, will allow authors to keep track of the stages of review of their manuscript.
Equally important as a rapid review is the time from acceptance of the manuscript to publication of the article. Currently, this time is about 28 weeks. Our goal is to reduce this time to 8 weeks for print publication and to 2 weeks for online publication after acceptance of the manuscript. Achieving these targets is essential, we believe, for attracting the highest quality papers to the journal. However, the best technology and the most efficient editorial office will be ineffective without the cooperation and diligence of the reviewers and authors. Therefore, we seek your help in achieving our goal of making the review and publication processes as efficient as possible, and so we are requesting that you return your reviews two weeks after receiving the manuscripts. To prevent this from being a major burden to reviewers, we have expanded the reviewer database considerably and will not be requesting you to review large numbers of manuscripts.
As we begin our editorial tenure of Hypertension, the editors want to express our deep appreciation to you, the readers and investigators in the field of hypertension. You are the major strength of the journal, and without your continued service as authors, reviewers, and subscribers we cannot extend the excellence of the journal. We will work very hard to make certain that Hypertension continues to thrive, increases its scientific impact and achieves greater international importance, effectively serves the community of hypertension researchers and clinicians, and helps to achieve the overall mission of the American Heart Association. We will update you on new initiatives that will become more visible in about 3 months and will request your frank criticisms, suggestions, and reactions. We are committed to ensuring that Hypertension continues to be the outstanding journal that its readership deserves.
Dustan HP. Hypertension: a new journal. Hypertension. 1979; 1: 1.
Haber E. Hypertension: the evolution of a scientific journal. Hypertension. 1984; 6: 1.
Mark AL. Hypertension: the second decade.Prologue to an editorship. Hypertension. 1989; 13: 1–2.
Frohlich ED, Navar LG, Re RN. Hypertension: reflections and aspirations. Hypertension. 1994; 23: 1–2.
Comroe JH Jr. Retrospectroscope: Insights Into Medical Discovery. Menlo Park, Calif: Von Gerber Press; 1977.