For the second year in a row, the four editors-in-chief of the AASLD journals along with some deputy and associate editors, provided a behind the doors glimpse of the abstract consideration process and offered guidance on submissions and ways to participate on the journal team.
“Our goal is to help everyone in the authorship world understand what happens when manuscripts go to our journals and how we’d like to help you get them published. We like to provide a place to keep all the good science about the liver within the AASLD house,” said Publications Committee Chair Willscott E Naugler, MD, FAASLD, who moderated the session.
Each of the editors provided their expectations for submissions to their journals, outlined the review and acceptance processes and offered tips for potential authors to follow.
Paul Martin, MD, FAASLD, emphasized the importance of reading the instructions to the authors provided on the submission website for his journal Liver Transplantation.
“We have a number of different formats as do all the other journals, and if your paper doesn’t fit the format for the section you’re submitting it to, there’s going to be a delay,” he said. “It’s very important that the paper is structured well. The most irritating thing is a paper submitted with track changes. It’s important to pay attention to the small details.”
All the editors indicated that the cover letter is a vital part of their consideration as it is an opportunity to show why the paper is worthy of inclusion in the journal.
“The cover letter matters a lot because it helps me as an AE right away know where does this fit in, what’s the really unique high level message that the authors are trying to give,” said Norah Terrault, MD, FAASLD, who is an associate editor for Hepatology Communications. “That really helps me very quickly to figure out if this is a priority area for us and also whether the message is going to be something that we want to work to actually develop.”
David Cohen, MD, PhD, FAASLD, who serves as editor-in-chief of HEPATOLOGY, noted that his team’s goal was to process submissions as quickly as possible while keeping the journal’s mission in the forefront. He explained that HEPATOLOGY receives more than 2000 original submissions a year, but can only publish about 14 percent of them.
“Our editorial process really is one where we tried to rapidly prioritize those that we think are on track for publication and try to help them get the best possible format,” he said, noting that the journals practice “cascading” papers with excellent research to sister publications Liver Transplantation and Hepatology Communications to ensure the best research remains in the AASLD family.
Hepatology Communications Editor in Chief Gyongi Szabo, MD, PhD, FAASLD, noted that these papers which have been through HEPATOLOGY’s rigorous review, can potentially find a home in AASLD’s newest journal.
“The scope of Hepatology Communication is very broad, so we take papers in the entire spectrum of translational research from bench to bedside. The type of articles can be creative,” said Dr. Szabo. “One of the features and advantages of Hepatology Communication is that as an online journal, we can incorporate video.”
Video and other multimedia elements make up submissions for AASLD’s fourth journal Clinical Liver Disease, and Editor-in-Chief Nancy Reau, MD, FAASLD, noted that her journal has a very different structure.
“We have a near 100 percent acceptance because most of what we get is something that we’ve asked for, and so if we asked you to write something, we do work very hard to make sure it actually does get published,” said Dr. Reau, who added there are a couple of mechanisms to contribute proactively to the journal. Authors are interviewed by Associate Editors for video and audio components.
All four editors encourage those interested in publishing or serving as a reviewer to reach out by email with questions. They noted that the pathway to serving as an Associate Editor usually starts with reviewing submissions. If they gain a reputation as a consistent and thorough reviewer, they may be asked to write editorials.
“We pay particular attention to the quality of the merit reviews, and certainly for a younger person it is an important opportunity to show your stuff,” said Dr. Martin. “Certainly in our journal we’re always looking for people to write editorials. If somebody has done a great review on paper, that’s the first person to think about for the editorial process.”