Author + information
- Spencer B. King III, MD, MACC, Editor-in-Chief, JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions∗ ()
- ↵∗Address correspondence to:
Dr. Spencer B. King III, Saint Joseph’s Heart and Vascular Institute, 5665 Peachtree Dunwoody Road NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30342.
Dear Dr. ______________,
Succession planning has become important for leadership positions. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) recognized this many years ago and established the 1-year term for the president but with the president-elect and vice president in place as well. Perhaps 1 year is too short for the ACC, but for the ACC publications, the time commitment is probably just right. The editor of JACC, and now the rest of the JACC family of journals, has a 5-year term with the possibility of a second 5-year term. I believe term limits are a good thing and I was happy to sign my second 5-year contract when they offered it to me. Ten years ago when we founded JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions a 5-year term seemed like adequate time to launch a new journal and to see if it would fly. Well, fly it did, and from a bimonthly publication we quickly moved to monthly and, in recent years, to biweekly publication as the journal has become the leader in interventional cardiology.
Now it is time to turn the journal over to you, and you had better not screw it up. Why has it done so well? You know how heavily I have depended on the highly competent and committed associate editors, along with over 1,000 reviewers and countless authors from over 100 countries. I owe a profound bit of gratitude to all of them. You and the other candidates for this job have spoken to me and I gave you some advice to help you decide whether you wanted to make this commitment. All of you asked about the time required and what other life you can successfully manage. Now that you have prepared your application, presented your case, and have finally been selected, I will tell you a few other things about this job. First I can say that, other than the cath lab, this is the best job in interventional cardiology. Second, do not expect a day off. Joe Hill, who was recently appointed editor-in-chief of Circulation, told me that the job was like having a dairy, the cows have to be milked every day! I told him that the good part is that you can milk them from anywhere. Technology has enabled me to work from many places. The journal meetings to review papers have largely been conducted in Atlanta with one-half the associate editors and the other half connected but spread out over the country and the world. I have chaired these meetings from Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Beijing, Chennai, various cities in the United States, and our mountain cabin high above Asheville, North Carolina. Years ago I visited Bill Parmley, who was editor of JACC, and Jim Willerson, who was editor of Circulation. That was an era of paper manuscripts piled to the ceiling. With over 2,600 submissions to JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions this year, you are lucky that the Internet exists, but the words remain the same. How will you handle these papers? When we began this journal, we were hungry for papers and I wanted to see all of them. I continued doing that as I cut back my clinical and administrative responsibilities. Today I see every submission before referring the vast majority to associate editors who are extremely familiar with specific components of the field. You may find that delegating this screening activity is more efficient. You will struggle to reject papers without further review because all submissions represent an enormous amount of work by the authors. Nonetheless, it would be impossible to obtain expert informed reviews on every submission, and you must realize that the vast majority of papers that do not make priority for this journal will eventually be published somewhere. If it is clear that a paper is not going to receive positive reviews and that it does not fit JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions, a prompt rejection and return to the author is, I believe, kinder than a projected futile review process. I have tried to bring all submissions before the editorial board, even those rejected without review. That is becoming increasingly difficult because of the large volume and the necessity to discuss revisions needed for the large number of papers remaining under serious consideration in order to arrive at the <10% that will be ultimately published in the journal.
Because the journal has achieved such a high impact factor, you will be under pressure to increase it. Much has been said about how flawed the impact factor is, but without it you do not receive the highest quality submissions you want. Partially because of this, we have concentrated on original research as our stock and trade and have not branched into some areas that might also be attractive to the readers. Lacking the ability to publish the powerful driver of impact factor, the guidelines, we have limited the papers on early technology that, although interesting, are frequently not going to make it to clinical practice. I contemplated a feature called “Innovation in Intervention” to capture some of these. Perhaps it is worth a consideration.
In any case, as I prepare to work with you until you take the torch in July, you will need to consider your “transition team” that will support your work. You will need to reflect on what style you will pursue. You will need to appreciate the integration of the JACC family and the high-quality, professional staff at Heart House who support and badger you in a highly professional but amiable way.
Some people asked me if I wanted to extend my term as editor. Ten years ago, 5 years seemed enough. Now, 10 years clearly is enough. We are proud of what the journal has accomplished and now as we pass the torch it is up to you to take it to new heights. It will be the most fun you ever survived.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation