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Some Exciting News and Changes for the Journal

Scerbo, Mark W., PhD, FSSH, FHFES

doi: 10.1097/SIH.0000000000000346
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I am pleased to announce a new milestone for the journal. The 2017 Journal Impact Factor (JIF) for Simulation in Healthcare was released in July, and it is the highest in the history of the journal. Our new JIF increased from 1.635 last year to 2.34 this year, based on citations from 2015 and 2016 according to Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property & Science). It is also worth mentioning that the 5-year JIF for the journal is 2.32 based on citations from 2012 to 2016. This JIF places the journal 36th of 94 journals in the Health Care Sciences and Services category of Clarivate Analytics Web of Science Database that contains more than 18,000 scientific journals and 180,000 proceedings.

To provide some context, the JIF represents a ratio of the number of articles cited by other articles in the Web of Science database to the number of “citable” articles published in the journal in the previous 2 years (or 5 years for the longer 5-year JIF). Thus, our recent JIF is based on 248 citations divided by 106 citable articles. Conceptually, it means that articles published during the preceding 2 years were cited more than 2 times, on average, in other peer-reviewed journals as well as our own. Obviously, a higher JIF means that a journal's content is being cited more often by other scholars. Thus, journals with a high JIF tend to be perceived as publishing more important work.

Although the new JIF is certainly encouraging, it is important to understand that the number is but a rough index of a journal's importance. First, it is an average and therefore includes some articles that are cited frequently and some that are not cited at all. Second, the citation patterns differ for different types of articles (eg, reviews are often cited more frequently than articles describing a single study). Third, a journal can publish material that is incredibly important for readers who apply that knowledge but do not write about it.

Many scholars have written about the pros and cons of the JIF metric,1–3 and I invite you to read the editorial David Gaba published when our journal received its initial JIF.4 Moreover, the JIF is not necessarily unique. There are other ranking services operated by other publishers. For example, the SCImago Journal Rank and Source Normalized Impact per Paper are both available from Elsevier's Scopus. The SCImago Journal Rank indicator provides an index based on the number of citations received by a journal as well the prestige of the other journals providing the citations, whereas the Source Normalized Impact per Paper metric provides a citation index weighted by the total number of citations in a subject field.5

Personally, I believe that a higher JIF is better than a lower JIF, but I do not place that much importance on the specific numerical value. Having said that, I do believe that the upward trajectory we have seen for the journal speaks to the growing importance of simulation within healthcare education and practice. It suggests that what began as a niche area is now becoming a mature and acceptable domain for publishing scientific and scholarly research.

I would like to congratulate the editors, editorial board members, and our many reviewers on this significant achievement. Their efforts to identify and help refine the finest content for publication have resulted in scholarly work that is being recognized by an increasing number of researchers. I also want to thank the authors who choose to send their work to this journal. A higher JIF can only help increase the visibility of their articles. In this regard, the top five journals that cite our articles in 2017 are Clinical Simulation in Nursing, Academic Medicine, Nurse Education Today, BMC Medical Education, and Medical Teacher, in addition to our own journal.

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I also want to take this opportunity to share some changes that are in the works for the journal. As scientific reporting and publishing practices evolve, so must we. The editorial team routinely discusses trends in the publishing landscape and steps we can take to improve the integrity and rigor of the journal's content. Toward this end, we will be implementing changes to our policies on authorship and the reporting of randomized control trials.

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Although Simulation in Healthcare is a multidisciplinary journal, we follow many of the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) for publishing scholarly work in medical journals. The ICMJE is a small committee composed of medical journal editors who consider issues and offer recommendations about conduct, reporting, and editing of scholarly work. Recommendations address a variety of topics including the submission and peer-review process, editorial freedom, scientific misconduct, copyrights, fees, advertising, electronic publishing, clinical trials, and authors' responsibilities. The editors feel strongly that we should adopt the ICMJE recommendations for authorship. Specifically, these recommendations state that all authors of manuscripts must have made substantial intellectual contributions, including the following6:

  • a. participating in the design, execution, analysis, and/or interpretation of the work;
  • b. drafting or revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content;
  • c. giving final approval of the version to be published; and
  • d. taking accountability for all aspects of the work, including accuracy and validity of the contents, and ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

According to these recommendations, all authors must meet all four criteria, and all individuals who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors. Those who do not meet all four criteria should be listed in the Acknowledgments section as contributors. In addition, the submitting author should be able to identify which co-authors are primarily responsible for specific aspects of the work and publish that along with the author affiliation and disclosure details. The manuscript submission system for the journal has been modified to capture the author contribution information and to facilitate descriptions of primary roles for authors (eg, methodology, formal analysis, writing, etc.).

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In 2016, Simulation in Healthcare and other simulation journals published modifications to several current research reporting guidelines. The CONSORT (Consolidating Standards of Reporting Trials) guidelines address randomized control trials7,8 and STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) guidelines are intended for observational studies.9 These guidelines were originally drafted to help reduce inconsistencies found in the empirical research literature by providing a standardized list of details that should be contained within all reports describing specific research designs. The modifications prepared by Cheng and colleagues are aimed specifically at simulation-based research in healthcare.10

Since the publication of these simulation-based extensions 2 years ago, the editors and reviewers of this journal have referred to these guidelines in their feedback to authors when appropriate. However, we believe that it would be much more beneficial for authors to be familiar with the reporting details that reviewers and editors expect before their manuscripts are reviewed. Ideally, authors should consult these guidelines when preparing their manuscripts for submission, or better yet, when conceptualizing their research.

Accordingly, Simulation in Healthcare will now require authors to adhere to the CONSORT reporting guidelines with simulation-based extensions for randomized control trials. Authors will be expected to submit a checklist indicating that they have included the required details in their manuscript. To facilitate the reporting, the guidelines have been put into table format and are available to be downloaded from the journal website.

At present, the requirement to submit a reporting checklist pertains to only randomized control trials. However, we have also added the STROBE checklist for observational studies to the website. We are not requiring authors to submit the STROBE guidelines with their manuscripts at this time, but we believe making that information available will help authors prepare more detailed reports of empirical studies using other research designs.

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Finally, there have been some internal changes at Wolters Kluwer, the publisher of the journal. Druanne Martin, our representative for more than 7 years, has taken on other responsibilities and is no longer with us. We thank her for her enthusiasm and support for these past years and wish her well. Our new representative is David Myers, a senior publisher who has been with Wolters Kluwer for more than 15 years. David has worked with many societies, including American College of Sports Medicine, International Anesthesia Research Society, Association of American Medical Colleges, and American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Before joining WK, David was the manager of the books program at American College of Physicians, and a production manager for books and journals at Current Science. David has an impressive portfolio and we are fortunate to be working with him.

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To conclude, we are proud to see our JIF reaching new heights and we hope to see this trend continue. We hope that readers recognize that Simulation in Healthcare continues to be the place to turn for the most significant ideas, knowledge, findings, and methods in healthcare simulation, education, and practice. We hope that authors continue to view our journal as the premier venue for disseminating their most important work. We hope that adopting the ICMJE recommendations for authorship and use of reporting guideline checklists will serve to increase the integrity and rigor of content published in this journal. Lastly, the editors and I understand that the most successful endeavors are nurtured by an unwavering commitment to excellence. Thus, we have more exciting changes in store. Stay tuned!

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1. Garfield E. The history and meaning of the journal impact factor. JAMA 2006;295:90–93.
2. Callaway E. Beat it, impact factor! Publishing elite turns against controversial metric. Nature 535(7611):210–211.
3. Brembs B, Button K, Munafò M. Deep impact: unintended consequences of journal rank. Front Hum Neurosci 2013;7:291.
4. Gaba DM. A remarkable journal impact factor for simulation in healthcare. Simul Healthc 2011;6:313–315.
5. Identifying and understanding research impact. Available at: Accessed August 24, 2018.
6. Defining the role of authors and contributors. Available at: Accessed August 24, 2018.
7. Moher D, Hopewell S, Schulz KF, et al. CONSORT 2010 Explanation and elaboration: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomised trials. BMJ 2010;340:c869.
8. Moher D, Schulz KF, Altman DG. The CONSORT statement: revised recommendations for improving the quality of reports of parallel-group randomized trials. Lancet 2001;357:1191–1194.
9. Von Elm E, Altman DG, Egger M, et al. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies. Ann Intern Med 2007;147:573–577.
10. Cheng A, Kessler D, Mackinnon R, et al. Reporting guidelines for health care simulation research: extensions to the CONSORT and STROBE statements. Simul Healthc 2016;11:238–248.
11. Analytics, Clarivate. Acquisition of the Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property and Science Business by Onex and Baring Asia Completed. Available at: Accessed August 24, 2018.
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