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A farewell from the Milan editorial team

Mancia, Giuseppe

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doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000002946
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On July 1st, 2021, Professor Anthony Heagerty stepped in as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Hypertension and the Editorial Office of the Journal moved to Manchester. Because several papers accepted by the Milan Editorial Office had been scheduled for publication in the following 3 months, Professor Heagerty and the Publisher asked me to continue to write the Editor's Corner up to September 2021, which I accepted with pleasure. This is therefore the last Editor's Corner of those I had the privilege to write during the three and a half years of my term as Chief Editor of the Journal. I will use it not to write, as in previous occasions, some personal notes on the papers included in the Journal issue, but to thank my collaborators of the Milan Editorial Team and the other contributors to the Journal as well as to give the reader some information on the Journal activity during our editorial responsibility.

From the beginning of 2018 to June 2021, the number of papers submitted to the Journal of Hypertension has increased. In 2020, submission reached 1485 papers, which topped by more than 20% the peak submission number ever reached by the Journal previously. The papers on the COVID-19 infection contributed to such an increase, but this is not the entire explanation because, with minor oscillations, submissions to the Journal of Hypertension has increased steadily over the years, and the Journal now receives a number of papers much greater than that received 20–30 years ago. This increase in the number of submitted papers had, as an obvious consequence, a reduction in the rate of paper acceptance, which has recently approached 20% from the 30 to 35% rate usually registered in the past. The present acceptance rate may represent a good compromise between the search for scientific quality of the published papers and that of avoiding rejection of valid papers only because of lack of space. On this issue, the Publisher has helped by increasing on several occasions the number of pages of the Journal which is now about 2500 per year compared to, for example, 1900 in the year 2000.

Another trend that has continued during our Editorial responsibility is the geographic origin of the submitted articles. That is, over the last three and a half years, there has been an increase in the number of papers from Asia (mainly from China, but also from Korea, Japan and, lately, India), making Asia the most important contributing continent to the Journal, with 46% of the submitted papers in 2020. The percentage of submitted papers from Europe has specularly decreased while that from the North American and other continents has remained stable. Europe maintains, however, the highest percentage of published papers and thus of the ratio between accepted and submitted papers, although the gap with the lower ratio exhibited by Asian papers shows a progressive reduction.

During our involvement in the Journal of Hypertension editorial activity, original papers have continued to be by far the most important component of any issue of the Journal (except for the issue which published the 2018 Hypertension Guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology and the European Society of Hypertension), their contribution amounting in 2020 to 76% of the entire published material. The typology of the published material has changed considerably, however, with a trend already visible in previous years. Original articles more and more addressed pathophysiological, epidemiological and treatment aspects related to the association of hypertension with other risk factors and diseases, rather than focusing on those related to hypertension alone. There has been, over the last three and a half years, an increase in the number of Consensus Documents, Position Papers or even Guidelines on specific clinical hypertension areas issued by scientific Societies or their Working Groups. Invited but also noninvited comprehensive reviews and meta-analyses have been published more frequently to comply with the readers’ preference to find publications in the Journal that help them to familiarize with topics often too complex to be followed via original papers. Case reports have more than tripled compared to the past, in part because of submissions of cases related to the COVID-19 infections, while all issues have continued to publish several Editorial Commentaries of selected papers, a successful addition to the Journal by the previous Editor, Professor Alberto Zanchetti, which has since been adopted also by other journals.

Assessment of paper quality by anonymous reviewers has continued to be applied not only to original papers but to nearly all submitted material, including consensus papers and guidelines. There has been, as a change, a wider use of Guest Editors, selected among the Associate Editors but also among the larger Editorial Board when the submitted paper dealt with a topic that would benefit of an Editor with specific competence, such as hypertension in children. The Editorial Office has successfully managed to reduce the time to the first editorial decision, which is now less than 19 days, while publication of an article in a paper format still lags a few months after its acceptance, due to the greater number of accepted papers compared to the number of pages available. This is in part compensated, however, by the quick appearance of the accepted papers online. The impact factor (IF) has remained >4, with small oscillations and a slight trend to an increase, which has been more marked in 2020 (IF 4.844). The Journal of Hypertension continues to be one of the world top hypertension Journals and is currently number 17 among the 65 Journals grouped in the category of peripheral vascular disease.

At the end of my activity with the Journal of Hypertension (which started as Deputy Editor of the Editor-in-Chief, Prof Alberto Zanchetti, >25 years ago), I wish to express my gratitude to many people. My long-term colleagues in the Executive Editorial Board, Prof. Cesare Cuspidi, Prof. Guido Grassi, Prof. Alberto Morganti, Prof. Gianfranco Parati, and Prof. Andrea Stella; Ms. Lidia Rossi, Ms. Paulina Wijnmaalen, and Ms. Marilisa Rossi who have coordinated, also from 1995, the work of the central Editorial Office with great skill and dedication; the Associate Editors, the Guest Editors and the Reviewers; and on the Publisher side Mr Phil Daly and Mr Patrick Satrjeenpong. Their help has been invaluable and they have made my work for the Journal instructive and pleasant.

To Prof. Heagerty and the Manchester Team all best wishes from the Milan group for a very successful activity and for a further upgrade of the importance of the Journal in the world hypertension and cardiovascular scientific panorama.


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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