Over the past year, ACEP has been developing a new journal to join the Annals of Emergency Medicine and ACEP Now as flagship publications of the College. The new journal, entitled JACEP Open (The Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians Open), published its first articles in December 2019 and will debut its first issue in February 2020. Its inaugural Editor in Chief is Henry Wang, MD, MS, professor and executive vice-chair of research in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Health McGovern Medical School in Houston. He is a prolific researcher and editor who has served as deputy editor for the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 39 – No 01 – January 2020
Dr. Wang recently sat down with ACEP Now Medical Editor in Chief Jeremy Faust, MD, MS, MA, FACEP, to discuss the role of JACEP Open and his vision for this new home for critical emergency medicine research.
JF: What niche does JACEP Open fill, and what kind of articles are you looking for?
HW: The goal of JACEP Open is to represent the full spectrum of science and knowledge. Submissions from the entire spectrum of science that might be related to emergency medicine research and practicing research are welcome.
JF: That doesn’t sound too different from Annals of Emergency Medicine. So why a new journal?
HW: It’s clear that there is more than enough high-quality material to fill Annals, so we really need another venue beside Annals to showcase the best of the best. We see JACEP Open as a second venue for authors to showcase their best work. We hope that, eventually, the world will see Annals and JACEP Open as a partnership representing the leading edge of research for our specialty.
JF: When you‘re starting a brand-new academic journal, how do you convince authors to submit?
HW: One of our highest priorities is to ensure that this is an author-friendly experience. For example, we have great flexibility in the structure of papers. We aim to have a rapid editorial process. For an ideal paper, the peer-review to publication process can be as short as six weeks, and that time frame might be even shorter in the future as we become more adept and streamline our processes.
JF: When authors choose to submit to a journal, prestige is a consideration. How do you attract the best work to a new journal that won’t have an impact factor for several years?
HW: Yes, this is a new journal, and it doesn’t have an impact factor yet. However, it is backed by ACEP, and it is published by Wiley. Our editorial board is filled with incredibly accomplished and diverse experts from all around the world. And so this is a journal with a lot of credibility from the outset. It’s run by a terrific staff with tons of experience and international scientific credibility. Also, the author experience will be enhanced by some of our open access features. We expect to have Medline indexing by the end of 2020. And we expect all articles to be retroactively indexed. Ultimately, we expect an impact factor in 2021.
JF: Other than the fact that JACEP Open is free to the readers, what are the other advantages of open access?
HW: Because we are an open access journal, as soon as an accepted paper has completed its production and goes online, it is immediately discoverable by the world. It’s immediately discoverable by internet search engines. And because it is open access material, it floats to the top of open searches like Google. So for authors seeking to have their work easily accessible by the entire world, JACEP Open is an excellent forum. Also, unlike other types of publication licenses, in our open access model, the authors actually retain the rights to the work.
JF: How is it going so far in the early months? Are you getting a lot of submissions? How many of those submissions are coming from the Annals pathway, and how many are coming as direct submissions?
HW: In our first weeks we’ve been open for business, there have been nearly 100 submissions, far exceeding our hopes. A portion of the papers are those that had been transferred from the Annals of Emergency Medicine, but we have had a large number of papers that have come in directly.
JF: Can you address some of the concerns people have about the system in which authors are paying publication fees? And what about authors who can’t afford that?
HW: Open access journals often involve an article publication charge, and JACEP Open works along the same model. There are several factors authors should consider when weighing the pros and cons of an article publication charge. First of all, we ensure a quality experience in exchange for this publication charge. We aspire to have articles go through the editorial and production process very quickly and for the article to be widely accessible throughout the entire world on a very rapid basis.
In addition, I think the reality of biomedical publishing is that many journals are charging publication fees now, including some print [non-open access] journals. Some journals are not very open and upfront about their fees. It’s not uncommon for an author to work through revisions at a medical journal, have it accepted, and then be surprised by a page charge for their publication. And these are substantial page charges, often totaling well over $1,000. In my view, speaking as a scientist and as an editor, in 10 years it wouldn’t surprise me if the vast majority of medical journals move to a model where there’s some type of publication charge to authors.
Regarding affordability, there is a waiver system available, and the authors can apply for special consideration in cases of economic hardship. This is rapidly becoming the norm in this space for those who have financial hardships or cannot afford the publication charge.
JF: Something readers may not know about you is that you’re an accomplished violinist and orchestral musician. We both share a love of music! I’m wondering whether you think that your background as a violinist makes you a better editor.
HW: Writing a medical paper is exactly like composing a piece of classical music. I work with my students a lot using the same analogies. If you are a classical music fan, you’ll recognize that we love classical music because of the beauty of its traditional forms. The sonata form has an introduction, a theme, a second theme and development, and then a repeat of those themes. The reason we love Mozart and Beethoven is partly due to that. There’s a beauty in that structure. And I dare say that medical articles very much work the same way. Readers have an expectation that the introduction, methods, results, and discussion will flow in a certain way. For the author, the goal is to have your tune resonate within that framework and to grab the listener’s attention. It may sound hokey, but honestly, as an author and as an editor, I’m often listening to what “the piece,” (ie, the paper) sounds like a little bit more than actually reading the individual words. All of this explains why two papers perhaps covering the same topic can be so different.
JF: Finally, I think we all want to know how the name JACEP Open came about. Can you tell us the history there?
HW: Readers might be fascinated to know that the original name of Annals of Emergency Medicine was, in fact, the Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians (JACEP). In putting the new journal together and going through a long list of candidate titles, we realized that linkages to the College are extremely important as well as acknowledging our linkage with Annals of Emergency Medicine, which is clearly our big brother publication. We homed in on JACEP Open as a wonderful way to acknowledge our connections with the College and our partners at Annals. At the same time, we are acknowledging that we are using the new open access model and we are a forward-looking journal. So, it’s a way to acknowledge our past as well as to look toward the future.