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Editorial

The rise and rise of Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

Honavar, Santosh G

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Indian Journal of Ophthalmology: January 2022 - Volume 70 - Issue 1 - p 1-2
doi: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_3110_21
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“Nobody said being platinum was easy.” - Emily Weiss

The Editorial Board of the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology (IJO) wishes you a very happy, healthy, productive, and prosperous New Year 2022. Having begun publishing in January 1953, IJO proudly enters the seventieth year of its publication this month and is on the threshold of its platinum jubilee.[1] This is the first issue of Volume 70.

It is about four-and-a-half years since the current editorial board took over. Our dream was to make IJO bigger, brighter and better, to support and represent the soaring academic aspirations of Indian ophthalmologists and chronicle the beautifully unfolding growth story of Indian ophthalmology. We had resolved to work on the quality of the scientific content; timely, objective, and dispassionate review process; and transparency and punctuality in every aspect of the publication pipeline of the Journal.[2] I have reasons to believe that we have been able to achieve much of these.

IJO – A Growth Story

The growth in the number of manuscript submissions has been tremendous – almost 400% as compared to the 2016 baseline. What is very gratifying is the rise in submissions by Indian authors – from 575 in 2016 to 2785 in 2020 – a five-fold increase! The data clearly shows that IJO has been able to support the rising academic aspirations of Indian ophthalmologists. The overall impact of Indian ophthalmic research was globally ranked 6 (602 citable publications) in 2015.[34] There has been a huge leap to rank 3 in 2020 with 1291 citable publications.[34] Publications in IJO have helped add about 2000 unique authors to the pool of Indian researchers in the last six years.[4] Expanded publication opportunities that IJO currently provides will likely have a cascading positive effect on the rise in the academic impact of Indian ophthalmology.

The IJO publication pipeline is well-oiled by now. The Journal is on-time, every time, with the eToC circulated in the third week of the previous month and the complete PDF/flipbook in the mailbox by the first day of each month. The final manuscript acceptance time has been optimized – from 202 days for review, revision, and acceptance in 2016 to under 75 days in 2021. The average time for peer review and the initial decision has been reduced to less than 6 weeks as promised. We are currently working on reducing the average acceptance to publication time to 6 weeks.

IJO – New Ideas and Initiatives

Some of the new initiatives are yielding early fruits. Special Issues on Cataract Surgery in December 2017, Retina in December 2018, Retinopathy of Prematurity in June 2019, Ocular Oncology in December 2019, Community Ophthalmology (with a special supplement) in February 2020, COVID-19 in May 2020, Uvea in September 2020, Refractive Surgery in December 2020, Pediatric Retina in August 2021, and Diabetic Retinopathy in November 2021 with well-curated articles have become very popular.

The IJO Living Legends Series continues to feature inspiring stories of those who have ushered in a paradigm change in the understanding and practice of ophthalmology. Dr. Bruce Spivey, Dr. Bradley Straatsma, Dr. Sohan Singh Hayreh, Dr. Jerry A. Shields, Dr. Carol L. Shields, Dr. Narsing A. Rao, Dr. Ioannis Pallikaris, and Dr. Michael T. Trese have been featured as part of this unique series. While the newer sections such as Innovations, Special Focus, and Perspectives concentrate on core subspecialty academics, Tales of Yore and Women in Ophthalmology are meant to warm the heart and inspire the young. The companion journal IJO Case Reports, in its first year of publication has already published over 400 well-illustrated brief reports, each with a succinct teaching point. IJO Videos, a multimedia eJournal dedicated to educational videos is slated for a January 2022 release.

IJO – A Support in Trying Times

IJO has been able to support the readers through the current trying times by being the first among ophthalmology journals to publish several immediately relevant and practically important articles – be it the COVID-19 special issue with guidelines for ophthalmology and subspecialty practices, trends in education and training, intricacies of financial management, ophthalmic manifestations of COVID-19, and more recently, ophthalmic complications of COVID-19 vaccines. The multicentric collaborative effort on rhino-orbital-cerebral mucormycosis (ROCM), staging system and management guidelines have immensely helped streamline patient care across the world and tide over the storm of COVID-19 associated ROCM.[56] The collaborative multicentric ROCM study (COSMIC Report 1) with 2826 patients from 102 treatment centers spanning 22 states in India[6] has received several citations and accolades; it was highlighted as a path-breaking publication in Oculoplastic Surgery/Orbit by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Ophthalmological Society and American Board of Ophthalmology in their 2021 symposium. We will endeavor to support you with current information and evidence-based guidelines to help you adapt to the new normal and practice safe ophthalmology until we see the pandemic through.

The Journal could ably adapt to the financially challenging circumstances by going green – online access, flipbook and PDF for everyone, and paper copies to those who opted in. The next challenge was to process and publish the best of the deluge of 3823 manuscripts submitted in 2020 (about a 60% increase over 2415 manuscripts submitted in 2019). The Journal was able to rise to the challenge by incorporating new reviewers and initiating an expedited peer-review process for COVID-19 related manuscripts. Increasing the number of pages from 2113 in 2019 to 3084 in 2020 and rolling out a companion journal, IJO Case Reports in 2021 helped improve the publication timeline.

IJO – The Rising Reach and Impact

On average, close to 60% of AIOS members access the monthly eToC within 72 hours after it is released. Online hits have touched an unprecedented high of 500,000 a month from across the world – one hit every 5 seconds! One of the objective assessments of a Journal’s academic relevance is the Impact Factor, which has scaled up from 0.835 at the 2016 baseline to 1.848 in 2020 [Fig. 1]. CiteScore has risen from 1.8 in 2016 to 2.8 in the last quarter of 2021 [Fig. 1], Fig. 1 with the annual number of citations more than tripling from 1424 to 4719 in the same period [Fig. 2]. IJO seems to be well-entrenched in the trajectory of growth.

Figure 1
Figure 1:
Impact Factor and CiteScore of IJO over the years (2011 to 2021) show a rising trend (Sources: https://jcr.clarivate.com and https://www.scopus.com/sources)
Figure 2
Figure 2:
The number of citations for manuscripts published in IJO (2011 to 2021) show a steeply rising trend (Source: https://www.scopus.com/sources)

While concentrating on rising the impact of the Journal and initiating innovative manuscript formats to make it interesting and appealing to the entire spectrum of ophthalmologists, the priority is to support the soaring academic aspirations of Indian ophthalmologists and be an integral part of the robust growth of Indian ophthalmology. A collective effort and synergy between the authors, Journal, and readers – authors submitting the best of their works to IJO by choice, the Journal continuing to optimize the peer review and publication timelines, and the discerning readers accessing the publications to update their knowledge and adapt contemporary practice patterns, is bound to take us to a new high.

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ’It will be happier.’“ - Lord Tennyson

References

1. Honavar SG Indian Journal of Ophthalmology-The journey so far Indian J Ophthalmol 2019 67 317 20
2. Honavar SG Indian Journal of Ophthalmology-On the right path Indian J Ophthalmol 2019 67 1 2
3. Scimago Journal and country rank Available from: https://www.scimagojr.com/countryrank.php?category=2731&year=2020 Last accessed on 2021 Dec 16
4. Honavar SG Ophthalmic research in India-Revolution in evolution Indian J Ophthalmol 2021 69 3385 6
5. Honavar SG Code mucor:Guidelines for the diagnosis, staging, and management of rhino-orbito-cerebral mucormycosis in the setting of COVID-19 Indian J Ophthalmol 2021 69 1361 5
6. Sen M, Honavar SG, Bansal R, Sengupta S, Rao R, Kim U, et al. Epidemiology, clinical profile, management, and outcome of COVID-19-associated rhino-orbital-cerebral mucormycosis in 2826 patients in India-Collaborative OPAI-IJO Study on Mucormycosis in COVID-19 (COSMIC), Report 1 Indian J Ophthalmol 2021 69 1670 926
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