Journal of Refractive Surgery

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News 

Impact!

George O Waring, III, MD, FACS, FRCOphth

Abstract

HIGH IMPACT

Any author who suffers the rigors of research, writing, peer review, and revision feels satisfaction and pride when the paper is published, but often asks reflectively, "Has my work made a difference? Have I had an impact on ophthalmology, on refractive surgery?" For authors who publish in the Journal of Refractive Surgery, the answer is decidedly "Yes," based on the latest figures from the Institute of Scientific Information. The Institute helps authors answer this question by creating citation indices/indicators of how often other articles refer to the author's publications. For individual authors, this is called the Science Citation Index. For journals, it is called the "impact factor"- a measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year. The impact factor is calculated by dividing the number of all current citations of source items (an item published in any journal processed for coverage in a citation index) published in a journal during the previous 2 years by the number of articles the journal published in those 2 years. This calculation tends to discount the advantage of large journals over small ones, of frequently issued journals over less frequently issued ones, and of older journals over newer ones; in each of these circumstances, the first is likely to have produced a larger citable body of literature than the second. All things being equal, the larger that body, the more often ajournai will be cited. By providing some qualification of the quantitative data for each journal, the impact factor is an important tool for journal evaluation.

The impact factor for 39 ophthalmic journals (Table) places the Journal of Refractive Surgery in fifth position. This high impact rating warrants kudos to the individuals who earned it:

Authors- Many who perform and report on refractive surgery are harried practitioners who have made their contributions without the support of an academic structure, without a support system targeted for manuscript production, and without familiarity with the peer review process. Spurred by sheer desire and determination to communicate their experience and findings, they have published their works and had an impact.

Reviewers- Investing hours to critique and improve the work of colleagues- without remuneration-our reviewers emerge as quiet heroes and heroines in this process, helping to insure high quality, factual accuracy, and internal consistency (Do the conclusions follow from the data presented?) of submitted manuscripts. Their efforts have catapulted the journal to a level of greater impact.

Table

Editorial Staff- The editorial office of the journal, under the able leadership of Managing Editor, Katherine Lindstrom, and the editorial and production staff of SLACK, Inc., have shaped the contributions of the authors and reviewers with improved prose, attractive layout, and well-presented figures, all of which increase the journal's impact.

Editorial Board- Our board is active. They submit articles, encourage contributions from major figures in refractive surgery, create special sections such as abstracts and consultations, and serve as reviewers. Without such sterling efforts from this outstanding board, the journal would not have its present impact.

International Society of Refractive Surgery- As the only international society focused exclusively on refractive surgery, ISRS sponsors the journal, has contributed financial support, provides independent oversight of the journal through its publications committee, and stages the meetings that generate many of the papers published in the journal. The society itself has a major impact in fostering refractive surgery- one arm of which is the Journal of Refractive Surgery.

FAST IMPACT

At a time in the history of human communication where speed, newness, novelty, and spin are valued over accuracy, veracity, reproducibility, and quality…

HIGH IMPACT

Any author who suffers the rigors of research, writing, peer review, and revision feels satisfaction and pride when the paper is published, but often asks reflectively, "Has my work made a difference? Have I had an impact on ophthalmology, on refractive surgery?" For authors who publish in the Journal of Refractive Surgery, the answer is decidedly "Yes," based on the latest figures from the Institute of Scientific Information. The Institute helps authors answer this question by creating citation indices/indicators of how often other articles refer to the author's publications. For individual authors, this is called the Science Citation Index. For journals, it is called the "impact factor"- a measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year. The impact factor is calculated by dividing the number of all current citations of source items (an item published in any journal processed for coverage in a citation index) published in a journal during the previous 2 years by the number of articles the journal published in those 2 years. This calculation tends to discount the advantage of large journals over small ones, of frequently issued journals over less frequently issued ones, and of older journals over newer ones; in each of these circumstances, the first is likely to have produced a larger citable body of literature than the second. All things being equal, the larger that body, the more often ajournai will be cited. By providing some qualification of the quantitative data for each journal, the impact factor is an important tool for journal evaluation.

The impact factor for 39 ophthalmic journals (Table) places the Journal of Refractive Surgery in fifth position. This high impact rating warrants kudos to the individuals who earned it:

Authors- Many who perform and report on refractive surgery are harried practitioners who have made their contributions without the support of an academic structure, without a support system targeted for manuscript production, and without familiarity with the peer review process. Spurred by sheer desire and determination to communicate their experience and findings, they have published their works and had an impact.

Reviewers- Investing hours to critique and improve the work of colleagues- without remuneration-our reviewers emerge as quiet heroes and heroines in this process, helping to insure high quality, factual accuracy, and internal consistency (Do the conclusions follow from the data presented?) of submitted manuscripts. Their efforts have catapulted the journal to a level of greater impact.

Table

TableImpact Factors of Ophthalmology Journals, Winter 1995 (most recent compilation)

Table

Impact Factors of Ophthalmology Journals, Winter 1995 (most recent compilation)

Editorial Staff- The editorial office of the journal, under the able leadership of Managing Editor, Katherine Lindstrom, and the editorial and production staff of SLACK, Inc., have shaped the contributions of the authors and reviewers with improved prose, attractive layout, and well-presented figures, all of which increase the journal's impact.

Editorial Board- Our board is active. They submit articles, encourage contributions from major figures in refractive surgery, create special sections such as abstracts and consultations, and serve as reviewers. Without such sterling efforts from this outstanding board, the journal would not have its present impact.

International Society of Refractive Surgery- As the only international society focused exclusively on refractive surgery, ISRS sponsors the journal, has contributed financial support, provides independent oversight of the journal through its publications committee, and stages the meetings that generate many of the papers published in the journal. The society itself has a major impact in fostering refractive surgery- one arm of which is the Journal of Refractive Surgery.

FAST IMPACT

At a time in the history of human communication where speed, newness, novelty, and spin are valued over accuracy, veracity, reproducibility, and quality of expression, some have the opinion that ophthalmic newspapers and internet chat groups (which often subscribe to the former set of criteria) are displacing peer reviewed journals (which often subscribe to the latter set of criteria). For colloquial communication, this opinion may be correct; for clinical and scientific impact, it is erroneous. The Journal of Refractive Surgery- supporting a subspecialty in which techniques change and outcomes improve every few months- has implemented more rapid communication through:

1) Publishing the journal online, so it can be read electronically before it is received in print. The Electronic Publication section of the Editorial Board is guided by Joshua Young, MD, Electronic Publications Editor.

2) Publishing abstracts of articles at the time of acceptance- some 4 months prior to their final appearance in print.

3) Exploring the possibility of publishing abstracts or papers at the time of submission, to alert the community to work in progress, prior to peer and editorial review.

4) Publication of information from the journal in SIACrTs Ocular Surgery News, under the medical editorship of Richard Lindstrom, MD, and the page editorship of Edward Manche, MD.

QUALITY IMPACT

All forms of communication in refractive surgery can be useful, but there is no substitute for a carefully researched, thoroughly reviewed, and tightly edited scientific manuscript for quality impact. Serious clinicians and researchers in refractive surgery understand this.

Some authors complain that the peer review and editorial processes at the Journal of Refractive Surgery are too rigorous and too slow. We are sensitive to these complaints, and have taken steps to reduce authors' frustrations:

1) Associate Editor Ronald Krueger, and Assistant Editors Dimitri Azar and Jonathan Talamo invest considerable time and effort expediting the review process on behalf of authors.

2) The editorial staff has streamlined the revision process, so that the majority of papers can be published with a single revision, some additional changes being made in the final proofs.

3) SLACK has increased the number of pages per issue from 70 to 100, allowing more articles.

4) The journal has eliminated some ancillary features, such as translation of abstracts into Spanish, Italian, and French, to make space for more articles.

Our goal is to have it both ways- rapid communication without compromise of quality.

Not long ago, many ophthalmology journals eschewed publication of articles on refractive surgery- then viewed as the ugly frog of ophthalmology. Presently, refractive surgery has become ophthalmology's dashing prince (or beautiful princess, to remain politically correct) and many journals solicit articles on refractive surgery. The table indicates that authors who publish in the Journal of Refractive Surgery will have high impact.

Table

Impact Factors of Ophthalmology Journals, Winter 1995 (most recent compilation)

10.3928/1081-597X-19970501-03

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