The European Heart Journal is a well recognised newspaper in the scientific community but faces challenges.
Professor Thomas F. Lüscher, Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Cardiology at Zurich University Hospital explains: "My ambition is to increase the impact factor of the EHJ but the competition will be intense. Circulation and JACC are also launching sub-specialties journals similar to the existing "ESC Journal Family" and are extremely well connected."
Thomas Lüscher does not intend to drastically change a winning concept and is fully aware of the work from his predecessors Kim Fox and Frans Van de Werf who paved the way for the EHJ's reputation. Yet he wishes to operate a few smart changes to make the EHJ even more successful:
- Diversify the editorial board by bringing in deputy editors from all over Europe. He has already approached Josep Brugada from Spain for the arrhythmias section, Patrick Serruys from the Netherlands for interventional cardiology and is now on the lookout for a US deputy editor and may consider an Asia editor. The idea is to give the journal a more global edge to attract top papers from all over the world.
- Add more basic research but relevant to clinicians. The fast-track facility will be available for both clinical and basic science papers.
- Improve the review section by inviting distinguished physicians to review important issues such as bench to bedside, controversies, new techniques and topics.
- Improve the figures and graphics for reviews and editorials.
- Bring the "ESC Journal Family" i.e. the 7 ESC journals closer together encouraging all subspecialty journals editors to become a member of the editorial team of the EHJ. If a paper is submitted to the EHJ but is too specialised, it will be forwarded to one of the subspecialty journals of the ESC.
- Create non-clinical cardiology news covering broad topics e.g. practicing differences from one country to another, pioneers in cardiology, reimbursement or funding issues. These would be authored by medical journalists.
Professor Lüscher adds: "Cardiovascular medicine is growing as a whole with more scientists writing and submitting papers each year, with Asia likely to produce excellent papers in the forthcoming 5 to 10 years and Europe presenting up to 40% of papers to US journals. Therefore it comes as no real surprise that the three leading clinical journals grew pretty much at the same speed."
EHJ represents one of the most productive journals there is to date with a 20-day turnaround time made possible thanks to its fast-track facility (on average journals turn around in 28 days) also benefitting from a loyalty factor from European physicians who make a point of submitting their original work to the ESC flagship journal as a first attempt hoping to break through the 16%-19% acceptance rate.
"What makes EHJ truly special is that Europe has such fundamentally different healthcare systems hence articles explaining discrepancies from one country to another generates much interest", explains Professor Lüscher.
Thomas Lüscher is one of the creative minds who have helped the ESC become what it is today.
"I enjoy nothing more than shaping the medicine of tomorrow by contributing to novel knowledge with a team of motivated young researchers. The creativity that academic medicine provides is my biggest reward."
Thomas Lüscher has held many successful positions with the ESC including chairing the ESC Working Group on Coronary Circulation, the Congress Programme Committee 2002-3 and has equally been the Vice-President of the ESC Working Groups for two years. He put in place new congress features such as the Clinical Trial Updates, the Focus Cardiology Practice and the Highlight session in a joint collaboration with Udo Sechtem. He is still a keen participant in ESC projects with the recent ESC Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine with fellow colleagues John C. Camm and Patrick W. Serruys, now into the second edition.
His editorial experience involves his most recent position of Associate Editor at Circulation held for the last five years during which was launched European Perspectives which he describes as "an exciting experience". The impact factor improved to more than 12 points and the subscription rate in Europe increased as well. Other positions involve editorships in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, HERZ - Cardiovascular Diseases and Editor-In-Chief of Kardiovaskuläre Medizin, a multilingual national cardiovascular journal in Switzerland.
Thomas Lüscher who turned to cardiology at 24 after witnessing a case of Sudden Cardiac Death in his father's office, is not only an interventional cardiologist but also a keen researcher studying the genetics of atherosclerosis in animal models and the role of endothelial as well as inflammatory cells in vascular dysfunction and coronary occlusion. He is involved in multicentre studies looking into the mechanisms of new drugs on vascular dysfunction in Zurich or stents that attract stem cells as proof-of-concept trials with limited patients.
Presenting over 50 lectures a year the new Editor of EHJ is on a plane each single week of the year but keeping a close eye on the Department of Medicine and Cardiology he is heading at the University Hospital Zurich. His only time left is spent writing a book on the philosophy of medicine which he, in turns, hopes to see published.
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC):
The ESC represents nearly 53,000 cardiology professionals across Europe and the Mediterranean. Its mission is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe.
The ESC achieves this through a variety of scientific and educational activities including the coordination of: clinical practice guidelines, education courses and initiatives, pan-European surveys on specific disease areas and the ESC Annual Congress, the largest medical meeting in Europe. The ESC also works closely with the European Commission and WHO to improve health policy in the EU.
The ESC comprises 3 Councils, 5 Associations, 19 Working Groups, 50 National Cardiac Societies and an ESC Fellowship Community (Fellow, FESC; Nurse Fellow, NFESC). For more information on ESC Initiatives, Congresses and Constituent Bodies see www.escardio.org.
European Society of Cardiology, The European Heart House 2035 Route des Colles, B.P. 179 - Les Templiers, Sophia Antipolis F-06903 France
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