Scholarly Publishing With the American Urological Association—The Expansion of the “Voice of Urology” Into Open Access With the Journal of Urology Open Plus : JU Open Plus

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Scholarly Publishing With the American Urological Association—The Expansion of the “Voice of Urology” Into Open Access With the Journal of Urology Open Plus

Davis, John W. MD; Editor

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JU Open Plus 1(1):e00001, January 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/JU9.0000000000000005
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The priority aims for scholarly journal publications are scientific truth and the expansion of actionable knowledge. A specific journal will have an intended audience and specific content priorities. But, in the broader view, the goals are focused on truth and knowledge.

The global situation for scholarly publications is a rapidly changing field with important discussion points such as value metrics (impact factor, article downloads, and social media interactions), reader access (“pay to read” vs “pay to publish” and digital vs print), online content support, article indexing, and peer review methods.

With that background, I am pleased to introduce you to the new journal from the American Urological Association (AUA): Journal of Urology Open Plus (JUOP). Building on the over 100-year experience of the Journal of Urology and the recently established Urology Practice (UP), the JUOP becomes the third peer-reviewed journal for the AUA—an integrated system of journals that supports all types of manuscripts related to the field of urology. These journals support cascading: the practice of referring articles among the group to find the best journal match for a particular paper. This practice keeps reviews and discussions intact between the journals and is designed to be efficient with peer review and to keep a broader collection of scientifically sound articles within the family of AUA journals.

In this editorial, I would like to introduce you to the key strategies and constructs related to building this new journal. The foremost point of distinction is that JUOP is a fully open access (OA) format journal. All articles have a publication charge provided by the authorship, which translates into author retention of the copyrights to their work, and digital/online access to full-length articles to the public. In other words, the readers do not have to log in, pay for access, or provide personal or institutional subscription-based access. The overall intent of OA is to increase the access and transparency of scientific progress—especially from publicly funded sources. The Plan S and cOAlition S are commonly cited groups advocating for OA. In addition, many authors desire worldwide subscription-free access to their work, and a growing collection of institutions are using their resources to contract with OA publishers such that their faculty has prepaid access to publish OA. Just last month, the White House Office of Science and Technology issued a policy statement aimed at ensuring “free, immediate, and equitable access to federally funded research.” This mandate will require all such research to be accessible on acceptance. JUOP will offer a suitable publication option that meets the requirements of the White House Office of Science and Technology memo.

Next, I would highlight the Table of Contents construct of JUOP. The journal accepts the common paper formats such as reviews, original papers, and research communications. In addition, we have added video presentations as a format—the combination of a video of surgical technique with outcomes and a standard formatted abstract for PubMed indexing. Rather than organizing papers by urologic subspecialty, the journal will organize in a “methods-based” table of contents. Table 1 reviews the various manuscript methods commonly submitted to journals and lists examples of what we are looking for. The journal accepts any urologic subspecialty, and the website will have designs such that articles can be keyword searched by subspecialty and their principle methods category.

Table 1. - Journal of Urology Open Plus Article Table of Contents Design and Examples
Article type Content examples
Monthly Issue Review/Editorial Article highlights—Related pictorial highlights from our field: “people, places, and things.”
Review Science Narrative or systematic reviews
Prospective Study Randomized study, single-arm phase II, null hypothesis trials, pilot trials, secondary end points from clinical trials
Health Services Research Database study, qualitative research, health disparities research
Hypothesis Generating Study Chart reviews, novel ideas, confirmatory findings, real-world results of novel treatments, multi-institution collaborative studies
Rare Conditions/Innovation Valuable case series/reports with review
Novel innovations
Video Presentations Abstract with 15-min video—novel techniques/methods best displayed by video

To achieve our stated goal of publishing sounds science in the field of urology, we have constructed an editorial team that you will see featured as we build our website. The board is led by a senior team of editors including the editor in chief and associate editors Fernando Kim, Vitaly Margulis, and Marisa Clifton. We have a group of consulting editors who are more senior in their careers and have specific skills needed for peer reviews and experience in publishing. They will assist in mentoring the younger editors and troubleshooting any challenging reviews. The editorial board itself will focus on peer reviews and recruiting ad hoc review experts. As we are an AUA journal, we recruited from all sections of the AUA and sought diversity in make of the board and subspecialty expertise.

I think it is important to emphasize again that we are an AUA journal, and this has significance in that the success of our journal helps the overall AUA's mission statement: “to promote the highest standards of urological clinical care through education, research, and the formulation of health care policy.” It also means that the journal has significant resources to achieve its goals. In Table 2, the key interactions with leaders in our publications community are listed along with examples of the many skillsets they bring to the table. Some of these are future concepts such as collaborating with the AUA Institute for Leadership and Business (see Peer-reviewed publications are primarily produced by a voluntary workforce of experts, and leadership skills are key to creating teams and worthwhile experiences for all involved. The practice of urology and academic medicine also requires a number of voluntary efforts in committee work, project management, and growth strategy. Therefore, one of the team goals for JUOP will be to offer such leadership training and resources to its board for the purposes of growing the journal and helping the board with future career goals with the AUA or their home institutions. As an analogy, at the end of my 10-year run in the leadership with the British Journal of Urology International, I certainly remember the science and critical review parts of the job. But even more memorable has been the team building experiences and personal interactions with other leaders in urology.

Table 2. - Journal of Urology Open Plus: An AUA Journal With Key AUA-led Resources
AUA-based resources Leader Content expertise
AUA Publications Staff Jennifer Regala Article management, peer review coordination, correspondence, editorial board management
AUA Publications Committee Yaw Nyame AUA family of journals publications strategies, optimizing all teams, diversity and inclusion, public interest feedback
AUA Online Content Team Phil Pierorazio Social media content, strategy, article promotion, reader interaction
AUA Institute for Leadership and Business AUA Office of Education A new AUA initiative dedicated to providing education, training, and resources to support leadership development
Wolters Kluwer Publishing AUA dedicated project managers Publishing software, web site, marketing, Institution Open Access Agreements

In summary, JUOP is a new OA journal from the AUA that will publish a wide range of scholarly, peer-reviewed content from the urology community. The editorial team is ready for review with initial issues coming in January 2023. The methods-based table of contents construct should be appealing to a wide range of article types, and the editorial board has a range of expertise ready to help authors optimize their work. The OA format will be an excellent readership experience worldwide. Along the way, I hope we can have some fun with the science and the people who make it happen. Figures 1-5 are examples of your opportunity to submit your best photographs to our issue review editorials under the simple theme of urology “People, Places, and Things.” These pictures can really be anything related to urologists, urology events/meetings, and urology products/tools. These 5 shots were themed around the recent 2022 annual meeting of the South Central Section of the AUA from Hotel Del Coronado, California. We will post more information on how you can participate, whether or not you are good with your smartphone, or carry around a full Cannon/Nikon camera rig.

Figure 1.:
People. From the 2022 South Central Section of the AUA—Program Chair Chad LaGrange outlines a dynamic scientific program with time dedicated to wellness and burnout topics. Appropriately, his group ran an early morning yoga session on the beach to get participants ready for a full day of learning and networking. Photo by John Davis from the Crown Room of the historic Hotel Del Coronado.
Figure 2.:
People. This clever group of urology residents are all smiles—having won the 2022 South Central Section AUA Quiz Bowl, they move on to compete at the next Annual AUA meeting.
Figure 3.:
People. Jim Cummings from the University of Missouri is a professor of urology and past president of the South Central Section of the AUA. At the board of directors and past presidents dinner, he gave a lecture on “The Intersection of History with Urology.” You would never guess how Napoleon, Elvis Presly, and urology can be linked together into one talk.
Figure 4.:
Places. The 2022 annual meeting of the South Central Section of the AUA was held at the historic Hotel Del Coronado, California. The section meetings can be a prime opportunity for science, professional networking, and spending time with family/friends. This photo includes your editor for JUOP during the meeting site previsit.
Figure 5.:
Things. As urologists, we interact with a lot of technology and interesting tools. For JUOP issues, we will offer our readers the opportunity to submit their best photos in “people, places, and things” formats. This “thing” is the working end of the daVinci Single Port Robot, which was featured in a panel discussion at the 2022 South Central Section AUA.

Thank you for reading this inaugural editorial for the JUOP, and our team looks forward to reading your excellent scientific work.

© 2022 The Author(s). Published on behalf of the American Urological Association, Education and Research, Inc.