Nelson M. Oyesiku
Three years ago in the Editor's column, The Registrar, I discussed in a section “The Brain Drain,” the long-standing, pernicious and ongoing trend of consistent and continuous drain of high impact neurosurgical articles from specialty neurosurgical journals to high impact journals, particularly in general medicine and basic science.1 This trend includes some of our most prized assets, such as randomized controlled trials, large multicenter studies, evidenced-based medicine reviews, new device and drug introductions, basic and translational science, and high-quality, analytical editorials. Neurosurgery is a small specialty, and, therefore, few articles truly have huge consequences on journal metrics and success. This is a zero-sum game for our manuscripts, reviewers, and authors. What we lose to non-neurosurgical journals is our loss. There are significant opportunities to rescue and reduce this brain drain.
I referred in that editorial to evidence assessing the magnitude of the problem, and cited Dr Andres Lozano's data from his analysis:
“The term “citation classic” was used in reference to an article that has been cited over 400 times. They found 106 articles with greater than 400 citations relating to clinical neurosurgery. These articles appeared in 28 different journals, and 53 articles were published since 1990. There were 29 randomized trials, of which 86% appeared in NEJM, Lancet, or the Journal of the American Medical Association. Case series, classifications, and reviews appeared more frequently in neurosurgical journals, while randomized-controlled trials tended to be published in general medical journals.”2,3
While it is understandable that authors want their work published in the highest impact journals, our specialty journals can also provide high-quality, timely, and constructive reviews. Citation data indicates that NEUROSURGERY® is capable of producing competitive citation numbers in the 2 years following publication—the 2 years that affect Impact Factor calculations (Table 1).
It is a weak argument that faculty promotions and tenure committees demand that neurosurgical work by neurosurgical faculty must appear in a general medicine or general science journal to be considered relevant. Not even the Ivies can be that stilted in their deliberations. Faculty under review can rightly demand to be tried by a jury of one's peers as traditionally founded on that great document of English law, the Magna Carta and the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution—rights associated with trial proceedings—including the right to be judged by a jury of one's peers.4
It is undoubtedly true that if important work is published in the specialty journal, the general reader will find it, particularly with ubiquitous transmission via cyberspace. These submissions will inter alia drive the impact factor and other metrics of our specialty journals. These high impact articles can even garner significant notoriety to influence the revenue stream of the journals. These revenues allow the journals to improve to the benefit of contributors, readers, and the specialty. If we elevate our specialty journals by sending our best work, then those properties will always be there when we want them.
To this end—to attract articles that would represent the highest level of productivity and impact—NEUROSURGERY® has developed the High Impact Manuscript Services (HIMS) program: a combination of rapid review, author incentives, and promotion. It is available to manuscripts that have the greatest potential to advance neurosurgical literature.
HIGH IMPACT MANUSCRIPT SERVICES (HIMS)
For manuscripts approved by the Editor-in-Chief for inclusion in the High Impact Manuscript Services (HIMS) program, a highly condensed review process is employed (Figure 1).
Reviewers are selected at the time of the initial author application for inclusion in the HIMS program. This allows the Editorial Office to arrange for reviewers before the manuscript's actual submission to the journal. Reviewers would be asked to conform to an accelerated review time in advance.
Once submitted, the manuscript would immediately undergo peer review, bypassing the normal Primary EIC review, and reviewers would be asked to submit their review within 5 days of receipt.
The goal would be to provide authors with initial feedback 7 days after submission.
Waiver of Publication Charges. Manuscripts accepted under the HIMS program would not be subjected to the following publication charges:
Print color charges: Currently $500 for the first color figure, and $150 for each additional figure (print only).
Open Access. Article Processing Fees are waived for HIMS articles ($3,000 for CCBY-NC-ND License articles and $3,800 for CCBY License [RCUK and Wellcome Trust]).
Cover Consideration. For manuscripts accepted under the HIMS program, an illustration from the article or an original illustration provided by the author group would be considered for the cover of the corresponding issue.
CNS Annual Meeting Presentation. HIMS authors will be invited to present their work at a plenary session of the CNS Annual Meeting, with the author's travel, housing, and registration costs borne by the journal.
HIMS program manuscripts will be highlighted in NEUROSURGERY® as follows:
Print. Editor's Choice includes a call-out box with truncated abstract in print Table of Contents, an identifying icon in the online Table of Contents, and inclusion in future annual Editor's Choice iPad issues; and the article will be freely accessible online to non-subscribers/CNS members, regardless of Open Access status.
Social Media. Article will be featured in Neurosurgery Report blog posts, and disseminated to all NEUROSURGERY® branded social media pages: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Mendeley. Authors will additionally be provided the opportunity to record a podcast episode for inclusion in the NEUROSURGERY® International Podcast Series.
Press. Article will be featured as part of a comprehensive media relations strategy, bringing NEUROSURGERY® content to the mainstream media, via news service and media contacts. It will also be included in monthly LWW-authored press releases, featuring highlighted articles from each issue, and distributed to news services globally.
How to Participate in the HIMS Program
STEP 1. Submit your article title, abstract, and a brief but persuasive explanation of your article's significance and how it advances the existing literature (∼100 words) via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEP 2. The Editor-in-Chief will review your proposal and a response will be sent within 24 hours of receipt. Manuscripts deemed not appropriate for the High Impact Manuscript Services (HIMS) program will still be welcomed for submission to NEUROSURGERY®, unless otherwise directed.
STEP 3. If the proposal is accepted, you will be directed to submit the manuscript, noting the HIMS acceptance in your cover letter. An HIMS review will follow with an initial editorial decision made within 7 days.
For more information about the HIMS program, I would encourage you to contact the NEUROSURGERY® Editorial Office. It is our ongoing mission to ensure that those outside our specialty, who need to know, or want to know about the latest advances in neurosurgery, will find the information where it most logically and most deservedly should reside—in The Register of the Neurosurgical Meme.
Nelson M. Oyesiku, MD, PhD, FACS.
Editor-in-Chief, Atlanta, GA