jazz up your journal

Thursday, March 22, 2019

Jazz up your journal

Fancy advertisements reminding me that “time does not wait for anything or anyone” caught my eye at the Annual Meeting of the European Association of Urology in Berlin today. They were for the EAU journal, European Urology, which has been recently revamped from what I can see.

Of interest is that they have identified a few steps to improve the quality of the journal that should be considered by any publication wanting to boost its impact factor and keep its readers in an age of open access.

The first step is have a shiny cover.

In fact, the slick platinum cover is a smart way to make a journal easily identifiable. It also helps if your journal happens to have a big name: no one calls the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine by its name – it’s just the blue journal.

Dr. Francesco Montorsi, the current Editor-in-Chief of Eur Urol, identified 3 other steps to a better journal:

1. Accelerate the review process

Don’t leave manuscripts languishing on an editor’s desk for months only to be rejected. Eur Urol claims to have a turnaround time to the first editorial decision of 16 days. This is a lower limit said Dr. Montorsi because reviewers have to get 14 days to do a review. Which leads to the second point…

2. Give reviewers credit

It could be argued that many journals have made a lot of money off the backs of reviewers doing the hardest part of the job for free.

Eur Urol seems to take them a bit more seriously. They give a “reviewer of the month” award (that can go next to the Masters 50-m Breaststroke second place trophy in the cabinet).

More seriously, the entire editorial board is drawn from the most active reviewers – “no politics involved” – and is revised each year to include only the busiest reviewers.

3. Widen the readership
Looking beyond Europe, Dr. Montorsi suggested to the Japanese Urological Association that they arrange reciprocal online access to articles between Eur Urol and the International Journal of Urology.

A slick metallic cover doesn’t hurt either.

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