This issue completes my transition as incoming Editor-in-Chief of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®. For all MSSE®'s readers and contributors, I thank Editor-in-Chief Pandolf and his editorial team for the journal's outstanding achievements over the past five years. In particular, moving MSSE® from a “hard copy” environment to a fully operational electronic, online submission and review system, and dramatically reducing manuscript “in review” times were key in the remarkable increase in submissions currently being experienced. Annual submissions for 2005 totaled approximately 1100, up nearly 50% since Kent began his term! Clearly, we are increasingly the journal of choice for basic, applied, and clinical researchers worldwide to disseminate exercise science, preventive medicine, and sports medicine findings.
My goals as Editor-in-Chief are to continue improving fairness, thoroughness, and timeliness of manuscript reviews, and to enhance the quality of basic, applied, and clinical science published by our journal. However, the workload generated by increased submissions threatens to overwhelm time management of MSSE®'s review process. Further, because the number of pages that MSSE® publishes annually is contractually limited, the increased volume of papers undergoing review will, at current acceptance rates, increase the in-press time. Certainly, authors will not submit their best manuscripts to the journal if we are slow to review and publish their papers.
The Associate Editors and I recognize that preventing those reversals is paramount. Therefore, I expanded the Associate Editor roster by seven to manage the increasing workload, and further expansion is planned. I appointed Associate Editors and Editorial Board members, respected for scientific and/or clinical accomplishments, and committed to MSSE®'s success. Their professional expertise spans a range of specialties consistent with the ACSM membership's diverse interests. About 50% of the appointments were new, while the others were incumbents whose reappointment ensures operational continuity. While the editorial team includes many well-recognized “veterans” of experimental and clinical research, I also appointed some “rising stars” who have not yet had an opportunity to serve our scientific community in a major role. Periodic rotation of Associate Editors and Editorial Board members infuses fresh perspectives to the review process, so I plan to rotate some of the editorial team annually to maintain appropriate expertise and enhance diversity. Lastly, I am reevaluating the functions of MSSE®'s Foreign Consulting Editors, and intend on redefining their role to take better advantage of their considerable scientific expertise and international perspectives to further enhance our editorial process.
To attract submission of high-impact manuscripts by leading researchers, MSSE® must publish their findings with minimal delay. While providing timely reviews accelerates publication of new findings, it is also important that MSSE® minimize in-press time for accepted manuscripts. MSSE®'s in-press time for this issue was about 170 days, after remaining below 150 days for 41 consecutive months. The Associate Editors and I agree that, ideally, in-press time should be around 130 days, and to achieve that, we will become more selective of papers accepted for publication. We intend on accepting only papers ranked among the top 25% for originality, importance, and quality of results, relative to all submissions in that field, and we have already revised the reviewer's instructions to enforce the application of that standard. To further enhance quality of MSSE®'s content, the Associate Editors and I will actively solicit submissions in underrepresented areas, especially hypothesis-driven experimental research and clinical studies, and I invite readers to assist us by suggesting new topics and authors. Soliciting submissions from targeted authors and enforcing rigorous selectivity during editorial review will enhance citation rate for manuscripts published in MSSE®, and help retain a highly competitive impact factor among all of the sport sciences journals.
Moving forward, the Associate Editors and I plan to implement new forms of articles to enhance dialog among researchers and extend that dialog beyond MSSE®'s printed pages. The findings of basic, applied, and clinical research broadly categorized as exercise science and sports medicine will impact not just athletic performance, but the health and well being of all people, and MSSE® will play a key role in developing, evaluating, and disseminating those findings. We urge your active involvement in that important endeavor.
ANDREW J. YOUNG, Ph.D., FACSM