YOUNG, ANDREW J. Ph.D., FACSM
MSSE® has achieved another milestone: this issue begins our 41st volume! The journal's first issue, then called Medicine and Science in Sports, was published in 1969 under the direction of Editor-in-Chief Bruno Balke and consisted of the proceedings of a "Symposium on the Physiological Basis for Human Work Performance." However, the second issue consisted entirely of original research articles. Seven of the first 11 original research articles were authored by former or future ACSM presidents and reported topics that still fill our pages: exercise and body weight of overweight college students, metabolism during exercise, quadriceps reflexes with resistance training, and cerebral concussions in football players. The first "Letter to the Editor" appeared in the third issue. In that letter, after remarking on the eminence of authors contributing to the first issue, the author asked the editor for some "understanding indulgence" for those "new to journal writing" who had not learned to "write eminent journal publications." I do not know whether that letter was prompted by a manuscript rejection, but Dr. Balke's reply, that all papers receive the same careful review by experts offering "constructive criticism" to help authors, sounds eerily similar to my own recent messages to authors. Notwithstanding some sense of "back to the future," I think our journal is very healthy entering its 41st year of publication.
During January each year, I review nominations for Associate Editor or Editorial Board appointments. Key selection factors include peer recognition for ongoing research, demonstrated involvement with MSSE® (author and/or reviewer), and commitment to ACSM (Members or Fellows). I periodically rotate Associate Editors and Editorial Board Members to infuse fresh perspectives into our review process and to ensure that MSSE® can draw on a wide breadth and depth of scientific expertise for its peer-review process. This year, I appointed Associate Editors Stephen Roth and Charles Matthews and Editorial Board Members Martin Gibala and Christine Lawless to replace long-serving Editors and Board Members whose terms ended.
Annual submissions remain strong and will probably exceed 1090 during 2008, perhaps surpassing previous submission records. Although international submissions still greatly exceed domestic submissions, domestic submissions through August were 10% greater than the comparable period of 2007, whereas international submissions increased by 5%. Submission-to-acceptance time averaged (through October) 87 d, a 9-d reduction compared to the same period of 2007, and submission-to-rejection time averaged 41 d. The "in press" time was about the same as last year, averaging 139 d. The Associate Editors and I work hard to provide a fair, efficient, and timely peer-review system for submitting authors, but our primary goal continues to be the selection of important, high-quality science content for publication in MSSE®. The use of impact factors for assessing journal quality remains debatable, but Thomson Scientific's 2007 Journal Citation Report impact factor for MSSE® was 2.864, extending our ranking among the top five journals for impact in sports sciences a seventh consecutive year, and MSSE® remains one of the most influential journals in our field.
I have encouraged the Associate Editors to be rigorously selective in accepting manuscripts. Given current submission rates, I believe our overall acceptance rate should not exceed 30%, but in 2007, acceptance rates were higher. Therefore, I now direct the Associate Editors to emphasize reviewer ratings of scientific impact and novelty much more when evaluating papers. Submitted manuscripts must clearly establish the scientifically unique contribution and significance of the research. Well-written manuscripts, reporting carefully conducted experimental measurements appearing to only replicate previously published reports, are likely to be rejected.
We selectively invite ACSM-sponsored symposia presenters to submit papers summarizing their presentations, thereby ensuring high-quality scientific content across the spectrum of readership interests. Five such symposia were published in 2008. However, this month, the Associate Editors and I are especially pleased to direct your attention to another type of invited article, by Hopkins et al., which leads this issue. The Associate Editors and I felt that MSSE® could benefit by establishing statistical guidelines for analyzing and reporting data, similar to those other journals have published, so Associate Editor Will Hopkins was invited to development them. However, as the project proceeded through cycles of reviews by eight independent biostatistical experts, and consequent revisions, it became clear that there was not unanimous consensus (five of eight reviewers recommended publication) among biostatisticians about certain fundamental aspects of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data typical of sports biology research. Thus, perhaps it is not surprising that even in journals that have established statistical guidelines, submitting authors do not consistently comply with, and reviewers and Associate Editors do not always enforce, such guidelines. Therefore, the Associate Editors and I invited Dr. Hopkins and colleagues to transform their project into "recommendations" on statistical approaches for research. We hope that these recommendations enhance research quality in MSSE® and that publishing these provocative perspectives will stimulate discussion on appropriate statistical approaches for research.
Our journal's success is entirely attributable to the expertise and efforts of MSSE®'s Associate Editors, Editorial Board, invited reviewers, and, especially, submitting authors. I also want to thank Managing Editor Ken Wilson and Editorial Assistant Angela Chastain for their assiduous professionalism. Your suggestions and feedback are encouraged.
ANDREW J. YOUNG Ph.D., FACSM