The most important objective of this brief update is to thank you, the readers, authors, editorial board members, and reviewers, for your support of Hypertension and for your excellent scientific contributions, the primary reasons for the continued success of the journal.
We also wish to provide a brief summary of the current status of the journal and progress in achieving the goals that we outlined previously1: (1) to publish the highest quality original basic and clinical research relating to hypertension, (2) to increase the readership and scientific importance of Hypertension, (3) to ensure rapid and fair manuscript reviews, rapid publication of papers, and to provide the highest possible level of efficiency and “customer satisfaction” in our office operations, and (4) to effectively serve the international community of hypertension researchers and clinicians and to provide an important vehicle for achieving the mission of the American Heart Association (AHA) and its scientific councils.
Publication of the Highest Quality Original Basic and Clinical Research
Many other cardiovascular and hypertension journals compete for the “best” papers. Yet, by all objective measures, including “impact factor,” acceptance rate, “customer” feedback, readership surveys, and other data, the quality of manuscripts published in Hypertension appears to be very high, and the journal is recognized as the best in its field.
Increased Scientific “Impact” and Greater Readership
The Journal Citation Reports (JCR) scientific impact factor of Hypertension for the past year was the highest in the journal’s history at 6.33 and was the highest of any journal devoted to basic or clinical hypertension research. The JCR also ranks Hypertension among the top 5 journals in the category of peripheral vascular disease. The cited half-life of Hypertension articles also increased to 6.1 years, indicating that that papers published in the journal have “staying power” and continue to be cited for many years after they are published. Moreover, the immediacy index, a measure of the frequency of citations to articles during their first year of publication, has risen steadily in the past 3 years.
Although we are pleased with these statistics, achieving the highest possible JCR statistics has not been our primary objective. Instead, our goal has been to increase the scientific quality and clinical value of Hypertension and to stimulate interest in the journal among a broader spectrum of readers. Several initiatives are underway to increase readership of the journal, including increased distribution of the journal contents to clinicians and researchers throughout the world and translation of Hypertension articles in several different languages.
We have also increased the number of special features and invited articles, which, according to our readership surveys, are of great interest to our constituents. We believe that the overall scientific impact of the journal will continue to improve as the readership of the journal increases further and as we continue to publish the highest quality original basic, clinical, and population research.
Increased Number of Invited Reviews and Special Features
During the first 2 years of our editorship, we published only a few invited articles, commentaries, and reviews. Our emphasis was to publish the backlog of original research papers that was present when we began our editorship so that new papers could be published in a timely manner. The time from acceptance of a paper to its appearance in print decreased from 27 to 29 weeks to &8 weeks. Because invited reviews articles and special features greatly enhance the overall interest of the journal to its readers, we have gradually increased the number of Brief Reviews, Hypertension Grand Rounds, and other special features published in the journal. We request that you continue to let us know which topics are of greatest interest and to provide us with suggestions for Brief Reviews and special features that will enhance the journal.
Providing a Valuable Resource to Clinicians
One of the most important purposes of Hypertension is to assist clinicians in translating advances in basic and clinical research into more effective treatment of hypertension. Much progress has been made in understanding the causes of hypertension and its impact on cardiovascular disease, stroke, and kidney disease, and many of these advances have been reported in Hypertension. However, suboptimal blood pressure control is still the number one attributable risk for death throughout the world. In the United States, 31.3% of adults are affected by hypertension,2 and two thirds of hypertensive patients are not being controlled to blood pressure levels <140/90 mm Hg.3 Clinical trials, however, have shown that blood pressure control rates can be substantially improved. Factors such as “therapeutic inertia” (ie, failure of providers to begin new medications or increase dosages of existing medications when abnormal clinical findings are recorded) may be important in explaining, at least partly, the suboptimal control rates.4,5
Although our main focus will continue to be on publishing the highest quality original basic and clinical research relating to hypertension, we also strive to ensure that Hypertension is a valuable resource to practicing physicians and that the journal contents are distributed as widely as possible. To accomplish these objectives, we publish articles that are mainly “practical” in their application to effective treatment of hypertension.6,7 We have also increased the frequency of publishing Editorial Commentaries and Brief Reviews that are of interest to clinician scientists and practicing physicians. We also aim to make Hypertension an important vehicle for publishing major clinical trials of importance in treating hypertension and recently published the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Working Group on Future Directions in Hypertension Treatment Trials.8 Therefore, we request those who are contemplating journals for publishing their important clinical trials to consider Hypertension as the journal of choice. Hypertension is available online to a large audience of clinicians and scientists (>22 000), including all of the professional members of AHA, as well as the large number of other subscribers.
A Competitive but Stable Acceptance Rate
During the last 4 years, there has been a gradual reduction in the acceptance rate from >30% in 2000 to 2001, before we began our editorship, to its present level of &20%. This rate has remained stable for the past year and appears to be a reasonable level to ensure publication of the highest quality papers. We clearly recognize, however, that many investigators have relied on Hypertension as the premier journal in the field to publish their work, and the editors are committed to ensuring that adequate pages are available for publishing the best work in basic, clinical, and population research in hypertension. Therefore, as submissions continue to increase, we will seek additional journal pages to maintain the current acceptance rate and to permit publication of Brief Reviews and other special features that are of great interest to the readers of Hypertension.
Improving Efficiency and Effectiveness of Manuscript Reviews
Decreased Time for First Decision
One factor that is critical to the journal’s success is a rapid and effective review process. We are pleased to report that the time from manuscript submission until first decision averaged 2.6 weeks (17 to 18 days) for 2005 (Figure 1). We continue to explore new ways to make journal operations more efficient, although we will not sacrifice quality and fairness of the review process for speed.
The high level of efficiency and quality of manuscript reviews has been possible largely because of the excellent work of the Editorial Board and reviewers, and the Hypertension office staff, led by Gerry McAlpin, Managing Editor.
Rapid Publication of Manuscripts
Another factor that is critical to the journal’s success is rapid publication of manuscripts after they have been accepted. Currently, the time from acceptance to print publication in Hypertension is 8 to 9 weeks, compared with &27 to 29 weeks when we began our editorship (Figure 2). We maintain a policy of no backlog to ensure that publication time is as rapid as possible and are working with the publisher to further reduce publication time. The production schedule has also been altered, and Hypertension is now mailed earlier to ensure that you receive the journal at the beginning of the month, rather than midmonth or even later, as was the case before this change.
Currently, the time from acceptance to online publication is &4 weeks. Although this time could be reduced dramatically by publishing articles online before the author proofs are completed, as is done by some other journals, Hypertension contains significant clinical information that we believe should be carefully proofed before publication.
Increased Manuscript Submissions
Figure 3 shows the steady increase in manuscript submissions that has occurred during the past 3 years. These data do not include submissions for the Proceedings of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research, the Inter-American Society of Hypertension, or the International Workshop on Structure and Function of Large Arteries, which include an additional 216 manuscripts for 2005. During the first 6 months of 2006, there has been a further increase in manuscript submissions compared with 2005.
We received manuscript submissions from 47 countries in 2005. Figure 4 shows the top 10 countries and their percentages of the total submitted manuscripts. These data, along with the increasing number of submissions, suggest that Hypertension is becoming even more attractive to a broad range of authors.
Balance of Basic, Clinical, and Population Research
Approximately 56% of the submitted manuscripts involve clinical or population science studies in humans, and 44% report basic science studies. The numbers of published basic, clinical, and population science papers are proportional to the numbers of papers submitted in each of these categories. For 2005, 56% of accepted manuscripts (the same percentage as for submitted manuscripts) were from clinical and population sciences. These data indicate a good balance of basic, clinical, and population research papers submitted to the journal and that these different categories of research fare equally well in the Hypertension review process.
Hypertension serves a diverse readership and is the official journal of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research, the Council on Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease, and the Inter-American Society of Hypertension. We continue to publish the proceedings from these meetings using the same rapid and rigorous review procedures as for regular manuscripts. We also publish selected papers from other important scientific meetings using the same criteria for review and selection as we use for the regular original communications published in Hypertension.
New Hypertension Consultants and Acknowledgments
We are fortunate to have 2 new consultants on the Hypertension team. Mr Michael Shenk, a talented medical illustrator, joins us as illustrations consultant to assist authors of invited reviews and editorial commentaries with their illustrations and artwork. Dr James A. Hanley, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University, joins us as consulting editor to assist us with review of manuscript statistics.
We gratefully acknowledge the many reviewers who give their time to ensure the high quality manuscripts published in Hypertension (please see Acknowledgement to Reviewers in this issue). We are especially grateful to our “Hypertension Stars” who reviewed 10 or more manuscripts in 2005 (Appendix). Dr David E. Stec was the top “Star” reviewer with a remarkable 25 reviews and an average time of 6.5 days per review.
We also thank Heather Goodell, Stephen Prudhomme, and the members of the Scientific Publishing Committee of the AHA for their excellent support.
It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Cindy Means, Associate Managing Editor, who died on December 9, 2005, after a long illness. Cindy was tireless in her service to the authors, referees, and editors of Hypertension, and we will miss her greatly.
We are committed to ensuring that Hypertension continues to be the outstanding journal you deserve. It is a great privilege to serve as editors of Hypertension, and we are grateful for this opportunity. We pledge to you, the readers, authors, members of the editorial board, and the many outstanding referees who serve the journal that we will do our best to extend the excellence of Hypertension. Please accept our sincere thanks for your support and outstanding scientific contributions, and please continue to send us your suggestions and comments about our initiatives.
Hypertension “Stars” who reviewed ≥10 manuscripts in 2005 are shown in the Table.
Hall JE. Hypertension-update. Hypertension. 2005; 45: 316–318.
Fields LE, Burt VL, Cutler JA, Hughes J, Roccella EJ, Sorlie P. The burden of adult hypertension in the United States 1999 to 2000 a rising tide. Hypertension. 2004; 44: 398–404.
Chobanian AV, Bakris GL, Black HR, Cushman WC, Green LA, Izzo JL Jr, Jones DW, Materson BJ, Oparil S, Wright JT Jr, Roccella EJ. Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National High Blood Pressure Education Program Coordinating Committee. Seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure: the JNC 7 report. Hypertension. 2003; 42: 1206–1252.
Okonofua EC, Simpson KN, Jesri A, Rehman SU, Durkalski VL, Egan BM. Therapeutic inertia is an impediment to achieving the healthy people 2010 blood pressure control goals. Hypertension. 2006; 47: 345–351.
Fine LJ, Cutler JA. Hypertension and the treating physician: understanding and reducing therapeutic inertia. Hypertension. 2006; 47: 319–320.
Falkner B, Daniels SR. Summary of the Fourth Report on the Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents. Hypertension. 2004; 44: 387–388.
Pickering TG, Hall JE, Appel LJ, Falkner BE, Graves J, Hill MN, Jones DW, Kurtz T, Sheps SG, Roccella EJ; Subcommittee of Professional and Public Education of the American Heart Association Council on High Blood Pressure Research. Recommendations for blood pressure measurement in humans and experimental animals: Part 1: blood pressure measurement in humans: a statement for professionals from the Subcommittee of Professional and Public Education of the Am Heart Association Council on High Blood Pressure Research. Hypertension. 2005; 45: 142–161.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Working Group on Future Directions in Hypertension Treatment Trials. Major clinical trials of hypertension. What should be done next? Hypertension. 2005; 46: 1–6.