“Commitment is an act, not a word.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
The Editorial Board of the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology (IJO) wishes you a very happy, healthy, productive, and prosperous New Year 2023. In 2022, IJO completed 70 years – it’s platinum jubilee. We celebrated the this significant milestone reverentially, quietly, and effectively, and let our actions speak. We begin Volume 71 with this issue of the Journal.
The current Editorial Board is in office for about five years now and will complete its assigned term in the middle of 2023. When we assumed office in May 2017, our goal 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. The good news is that we have been able to achieve all of these and more, well before the intended timelines.
Rising academic aspirations, surging opportunities, booming manuscript submissions, yet optimized timelines
“The most effective way to do it is to do it.”– Amelia Earhart
A 400% growth in the number of manuscripts submitted to IJO has been commensurate with the rising academic aspirations of Indian Ophthalmologists. Editorial support in developing the manuscripts, and optimized timelines in manuscript processing and publication have further encouraged the potential authors to consider IJO as their preferred journal. Noteworthy is the rise in submissions by Indian authors – from 575 in 2016 to over 3000 currently – an impressive five-fold jump!
Despite the daunting increase in numbers, the timelines have been optimized. The average time to peer review and the initial decision has been reduced to less than 6 weeks as promised. The final manuscript acceptance time has been reduced from an average of 202 days for review, revision, and acceptance in 2016 to under 70 days in 2022. The average acceptance to publication time has been reduced to 60 days. IJO is on-time every time, with the electronic Table of Contents (eToC) and PDF/flipbook circulated consistently at the beginning of each month.
New ideas and initiatives
“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Apart from its fresh and catchy cover pages, IJO has courageously invested in reinventing itself and making it’s content attractive, readable, practical, and relevant to its readers. IJO special issues focus on a contemporary theme. 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, Diabetic Retinopathy in November 2021, Rare Eye Diseases in July 2022 and Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery in November 22 with well-curated articles have become very popular. A special issue on Dry Eye is due in April 2023.
While some of the new academic sections – One Minute Ophthalmology, Perspective, Education and Training, Innovations, and Preferred Practice have built a committed readership base already, personality-based features such as Living Legends, Tales of Yore, and Women in Ophthalmology have positively enthused the readership. The IJO Living Legends Series continues to elucidate the life and times and 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. In the platinum jubilee year, the Living Legends Series began featuring Indian Ophthalmologists who have made the world of a change – Dr. Pran Nath Nagpal, Dr. Sengamedu Badrinath, Dr. P. Namperumalsamy and Dr. Gullapalli N. Rao to date, with many more in the pipeline. Our monthly series - Tales of Yore and Women in Ophthalmology, meant to pay tribute to the legends and inspire the young, have been featuring heartwarming stories of Indian idols – Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, Dr. Mahesh Prasad Mehray, Dr. Inder Sen Jain, Dr. Lalit Prakash Agarwal, Dr. Lakshman Chandra Dutta, Dr. Vasundhara Kalevar, and Dr. Sudha Sutaria.
The companion journal IJO Case Reports, now in its second year of publication has published over 800 well-illustrated brief reports, each with a succinct teaching point. It is following due timelines for possible indexation in the coming years. IJO Videos, a multimedia Journal published as part of IJO and PubMed-indexed right from the first issue, is dedicated to publishing educational videos. Despite all the new developments, most of which required a starter financial support along with the financially stressful COVID-19 times, IJO is currently in excellent financial health, with an over INR 20 million-large corpus fund and INR 10 million surpluses in its expense account. The Journal could ably adapt to the financially challenging circumstances by going green – online access, flipbook and PDF for everyone, with paper copies to those who opted in, and augmenting print and digital advertisement support, library subscriptions, and royalties.
The success of IJO can be ascribed to the hard work and intellectual inputs of a highly committed, responsible, and cohesive team, a wise Editorial Board, a supportive managing editor, a workaholic associate editor, expert section editors, young and restless assistant editors, and an army of over 3000 active reviewers.
“They, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The rising reach and impact
“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.” – Albert Einstein
IJO is an open-access Journal, and everyone can download full-text articles. On average, about two-thirds of AIOS members access the monthly eToC within a week after it is released. Online hits have touched an unprecedented high of 5,00,000 from across the world – that is one hit every 5 seconds! The latest initiative to provide the complete PDF and flipbook through WhatsApp broadcasts has seen a very encouraging uptake with over 50% of Indian Ophthalmologists having subscribed to this service already.
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 2.969 in 2021 [Fig. 1]. CiteScore has risen from 1.8 in 2016 to 3.1 in the last quarter of 2022, with the annual number of citations increasing by 480% from 1424 to 6841 in the same period [Figs. 1 and 2].
The overall impact of Indian Ophthalmic research was globally ranked 6 (795 publications in Ophthalmology) in 2016. There has been a huge leap to country rank 3 in 2021 with 2256 publications, a significant portion of which have been in IJO [Fig. 3]. Publications in IJO have helped add over 2000 unique first/corresponding authors and co-authors to the pool of Indian researchers in the last six years. The ranking of IJO itself has improved to 12 on the Google Scholar journal ranking and it now stands tall among its international peers [Table 1].
We continue to challenge ourselves to make the Journal bigger, brighter and better with each issue. However, the binding principles of IJO remain the same as was emphasized in the past: “While concentrating on raising 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 IJO to newer heights in the years to come.”
“Trust is earned when actions meet words.” – Chris Butle
We remain grateful for your trust.