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Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Shafer, Steven MD

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000001303
Editorials: Editorial

From the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

Accepted for publication February 22, 2016.

Funding: None.

Dr. Shafer is the Editor-in-Chief of Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Reprints will not be available from the authors.

Address correspondence to Steven L. Shafer, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Dr., MC-5640, Stanford, CA 94305. Address e-mail to

This is my last issue as Editor-in-Chief of Anesthesia & Analgesia. Over the past 10 years, Anesthesia & Analgesia has become one of the most influential journals in our specialty. I sometimes get credit for the stature of Anesthesia & Analgesia. While I’m happy to accept it, I need to come clean: the credit belongs to others. I write to thank them.

I first want to thank Anesthesiology, the primary competitor to Anesthesia & Analgesia, and the premier journal in our field. Three Editors-in-Chief of Anesthesiology profoundly influenced my work as Editor-in-Chief of Anesthesia & Analgesia. Larry Saidman was an academic mentor early in my career and my direct mentor and moral compass for the 10 years I have served as Editor-in-Chief of Anesthesia & Analgesia. Mike Todd appointed me to the Associate Editorial Board, and eventually the Editorial Board, of Anesthesiology. I learned from Mike the nuts and bolts of managing an Editorial Board, coordinating the work of reviewers, editors, and authors, and trying to find the “right” decision with often incomplete and conflicting information. Jim Eisenach, my dear friend, occasional collaborator, and frighteningly competent competitor, has provided guidance, support, and encouragement over the past 10 years. Our “competition” was more often a collusion, an effort to advance the science of anesthesiology and improve the care rendered to our patients. We shared our frustrations and celebrated our successes. I am in awe of the stature of Anesthesiology, just one of Jim’s many contributions to our specialty.

I thank the Board of Trustees of the International Anesthesia Research Society. Editorial independence is a bedrock principle for the peer-reviewed literature. Several extensive and well-publicized cases of academic misconduct tarnished Anesthesia & Analgesia during my tenure as Editor-in-Chief. I can only imagine the discomfort experienced by the Board of Trustees as I investigated allegations of plagiarism and fraud, and identified failures in peer review at Anesthesia & Analgesia. The IARS Board of Trustees never challenged my authority to vigorously maintain the academic integrity of the Journal. Instead, the message was always “you have our complete support.” Similarly, the IARS Board of Trustees supported every decision I made in the composition of the Editorial Board. Occasionally they communicated gently that I might not have made a good choice. As it turned out, they were always right.

Journals are mere vessels. It is the content that makes a vessel valuable. Content is created by authors. How do I thank the thousands of authors who entrusted their precious work to Anesthesia & Analgesia? Figure 1 is a word cloud of our most prolific authors over the past 10 years. The size of each name is proportional to the number of accepted publications. The color indicates the trend. Green indicates increasing publications, whereas red indicates that the publications occurred early in my tenure and have decreased in subsequent years. There is not enough room in the word cloud to thank the thousands of authors, so Figure 1 only shows authors who published 9 or more articles in the past 10 years.

Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Over the past 10 years, we have processed nearly 50,000 reviews, contributed by nearly 4000 reviewers. The expertise of our reviewers set our standard for scholarly rigor. Figure 2 shows a word cloud of our most dedicated reviewers, reviewers who submitted at least 23 reviews. The names at the center, reflecting our most active reviewers, have all become Associate Editors and Editors. Our Reviewers, Associate Editors, and Editors created an exceptional team, investing tens of thousands of hours to vet the articles published in Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Figure 2.

Figure 2.

Section Editors are responsible for content of each section of the Journal. The Section Editors do the heavy lifting required to shepherd articles through peer review. Our Section Editors brought vision and creativity, devoting thousands of hours to the task. Each Section Editor created communities of investigators and cadres of reviewers to advance their microdiscipline. Editors edit! Our Section Editors edited reviews to make them constructive and civil and then edited articles to make them succinct and clear. More than anyone else, our Section Editors are responsible for the outstanding content of Anesthesia & Analgesia. Figure 3 shows the Section Editors during my tenure as Editor-in-Chief, based on the number of articles he or she handled. Table 1 lists our current Section Editors, and Table 2 lists previous Section Editors. I particularly thank the “founding” Section Editors, whose vision created entirely new chapters in the story of Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Table 1.

Table 1.

Table 2.

Table 2.

Figure 3.

Figure 3.

I wish to acknowledge a few specific contributions. Shortly after I started as Editor-in-Chief, Peter Davis proposed featuring a collection of articles in each issue. Peter’s collection featuring dexmedetomidine in children appeared in my inaugural issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.1–6 This became a defining characteristic of the Journal. Marty London created our Echo Rounds and Echo Didactics, uniquely defining our cardiovascular section. As Section Editor for Regional Anesthesia, Terre Horlocker implemented our guidelines on neuraxial and perineural studies involving nonapproved drugs,7 based on the recommendations of Eisenach et al.8 Our cover editor, Naveen Nathan, has produced some of the most brilliant imagery ever created for our specialty.

Alan Jay Schwartz joined our Editorial Board as the Editor-in-Chief of A&A Case Reports, last year, following the retirement of Larry Saidman, founding Editor-in-Chief of A&A Case Reports. Under Alan’s caring and thoughtful guidance, and with the dedicated support of Nancy Nussmeier, Associate Editor-in-Chief for A&A Case Reports, our new journal grew in scope and breadth. Alan’s addition of Educational Case Reports, Management Case Reports, Patient Safety Case Reports, and Global Health Case Reports created a truly novel journal. The success of Alan’s leadership is reflected in growing submissions, downloads, and citations. I acknowledge with appreciation the contribution of Alan and Nancy, including their kindness to authors and reviewers, and their vision for our new Journal.

I also acknowledge with gratitude the contributions of Frank Dexter, Section Editor for Economics, Education, and Policy, and Statistical Editor for Anesthesia & Analgesia. In the past 10 years, Frank has published more articles (107), and produced more citations (1473), than any other author (Fig. 1). Over this time, Anesthesia & Analgesia became the definitive journal in quantitative perioperative management. Since I handled Frank’s submissions, I am to blame if you find them hard to read. As Statistical Editor, Frank provided nearly 4000 reviews, with an average review time of <1 day. For each article, Frank carefully matched the data analysis to the results. He forced authors (and editors) to demonstrate that claims were supported by data. He identified hundreds of statistical errors along the way. His statistical reviews were often difficult for nonstatisticians. It was our job as Editors to be sure that authors understood his guidance. Frank created additional guidance for authors with our Statistical Grand Rounds. These may be the most influential articles published during my tenure. I am immensely grateful for Frank’s Herculean efforts on behalf of Anesthesia & Analgesia for the past 10 years.

It would take many pages to describe my gratitude to Nancy Lynly, Managing Editor of Anesthesia & Analgesia. Nancy provided adult supervision for the Editorial Board for the past 10 years. She has kept our editorial processes running smoothly, just as she did for Ron Miller’s 15 years as Editor-in-Chief. I sometimes take credit for producing an issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia every month. In truth, I haven’t a clue how it happens. Nancy is the conductor who kept the train on the rails and the magician who pulled a rabbit out of the hat every month. I will be forever grateful for her making my job possible, for her unheralded contributions to our specialty, and for her dedication to improving the care of the patients we serve. Nancy, thank you, thank you, thank you!

My penultimate expression of appreciation is to you, the reader of Anesthesia & Analgesia. It is because of you that the Anesthesia & Analgesia exists at all.

Lastly, Pamela, thank you for your love, patience, and support. I’m home.

With appreciation,

Steven L. Shafer, MD
Anesthesia & Analgesia
Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine
Stanford University

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1. Tobin JR, Shafer SL, Davis PJPediatric research and scholarship: another Gordian knot?Anesth Analg2006103438
2. Schultheis LW, Mathis LL, Roca RA, Simone AF, Hertz SH, Rappaport BAPediatric drug development in anesthesiology: an FDA perspective.Anesth Analg20061034951
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6. Rosen DA, Daume JTShort duration large dose dexmedetomidine in a pediatric patient during procedural sedation.Anesth Analg2006103689
7. Shafer SLAnesthesia & Analgesia's policy on off-label drug administration in clinical trials.Anesth Analg2007105135
8. Eisenach JC, James FM III, Gordh T Jr, Yaksh TLNew epidural drugs: primum non nocere.Anesth Analg19988712112
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