Celebrating 10 Years of Success
The College's scholarly publication has completed a decade of journalistic excellence.
I am grateful for this opportunity to address the membership of ACR on the state of their journal. It's a propitious time to do so.
The JACR® is enjoying its 10th year of publication. Each issue in 2013 will contain special celebratory articles, and the ACR Council is planning events at the annual meeting in recognition of the JACR achieving a decade of publication.
When the College decided to start a journal, many wondered why. There already were quite a few radiology journals reporting clinical research and publishing educational review articles. Rather than creating yet another such journal, ACR distinguished itself by establishing a unique niche among imaging publications, a journal (subject right now is niche) focused on the interests of the College and its members. Issue after issue, JACR has waveringly held to its mission: bringing its readers the best research and writing on the topics of clinical practice, practice management, health services research and policy, and education in a readable and often entertaining mix of original articles and recurring features.
This formula appears to be popular with both authors and readers. The number of submissions to JACR has grown annually, as has its circulation. This past year, authors received a response concerning the fate of their submission in less than seventeen days on average. Each year, the journal publishes at least one special issue on a topic of importance (in 2012, there were two — one on the effects of health-care reform legislation and the other on health insurance). An article providing CME credit to readers appears in each issue of the journal. For the first time, three articles in the December 2012 special issue on health insurance qualify for SAM credit.
In 2012, a survey of ACR members querying their attitudes toward the journal yielded more than a thousand responses. A considerable majority of respondents indicated that they viewed JACR to be an important member benefit, that JACR provided important information that they could not find anywhere else, and that they applied what they read in the journal to their practices. For the past three years, an independent publishing industry survey has cited JACR as either the most or second most read publication in the specialty.
Rather than creating yet another such journal, ACR distinguished itself by establishing a unique niche among imaging publications, focused on the interests of the College and its members.
The JACR Editorial Board and staff now look to the future to leverage the journal's achievements into even greater success. In January 2012, the journal held its first-ever retreat. Journal and ACR leadership met for a full day to assess the past and make plans for the future.
One important area in which JACR seeks to increase its involvement is in its digital publication, while maintaining the high standard expected from those accustomed to traditional print. The advantages of electronic publication are readily apparent: portability on handheld devices, the capacity to publish added material or even direct specific material to suit individual readers, and the nearly immediate publication of important articles are among the first to come to mind. Communities are building around online social networks, and JACR is positioning itself to become part of this trend. Those interested will soon be able to hear and watch authors express their viewpoints, witness an expert critique an article, or participate in an online conversation. To help the journal achieve its goals of becoming a high-quality digital publication and developing a social media presence, I have appointed a deputy editor whose specific role will be to best position the journal in these regards.
I cannot claim any special prescience when, in 2003, I worked with ACR staff to design the look and content of JACR. Nonetheless, the rise of JACR to a respected place in our specialty has come at just the right time. The contentious tenor of the debate over the costs and utility of imaging and the resultant legislative and regulatory actions have left little margin for error. JACR provides a level of insight that is unmatched by any other source. Who would have guessed when the journal started its run-up to publication in 2003 that our choice of subject material would become so central to the interests of radiologists and their practices? Sometimes you get what you need. As the late University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal once remarked, "You've got to think lucky. If you fall in a mud hole, check your back pocket. You might have caught a fish."
By Bruce J. Hillman, MD, FACR, Editor in Chief, JACR