This month marks an exciting time for Blood, a journal steadily recognized as the top-class journal in hematology. Blood is in the top 1 percent of all journals cited in Web of Science and in Google Scholar Metrics, and is heading into 2020 carrying numerous recent accomplishments. Editor-in-Chief Bob Löwenberg, MD, ends his term in 2019, and Nancy Berliner, MD, and Andrew W. Roberts, MBBS, will begin their terms as Editor-in-Chief and Deputy Editor-in-Chief, respectively, next year. To commemorate this transition, the three editors shared their collective thoughts on the past several years of remarkable achievements as well as some foresight on what lies ahead for the journal.
ASH News Daily: The past seven years have seen much growth for Blood, including a more than seven-point increase to the impact factor (9.0 in 2012 with a steady rise to 16.5 as of July 2019). What are some of the facets of the work done by the Editorial Board that have contributed to the notable increase in citations?
Drs. Bob Löwenberg, Nancy Berliner, and Andrew Roberts: Since Blood plays a critically important role for researchers, clinicians, trainees, and others in the field of hematology, it has been our number 1 editorial goal to make the journal more interesting, more authoritative, and more compelling for our readers in various ways. To this end, we enhanced our focus on publishing scientific and clinical work that substantially advances the field. As a result, a steadily increasing number of practice-changing clinical papers and cutting-edge research manuscripts across the full breadth of our field find their way into the weekly issues of the journal.
As the landscape of scientific publishing is changing profoundly at many levels, we are exploring new ways to present our offerings in the journal in a more attractive format. Various new article types have been introduced. Examples are the Review Series that present collections of overview articles on emerging themes in our field, and the comprehensive Spotlight Reviews on selected topics of broad interest. Both new article types have become quite popular. More emphasis has been placed on the presentation of focused scientific messages in Letters to Blood, and we have started publishing Special Reports with guideline recommendations. At the same time, we have worked hard to shorten publication times. In parallel, various new features related to the Blood website and to the layout of the print journal have been introduced to improve easy and flexible accessibility to the journal’s content.
AND: Back in 2012, Dr. Löwenberg and Berliner, you mentioned the potential for international growth of the journal, and today Blood is now available in local language editions in Italy, Spain, and Latin America. What lies ahead as far as the “internationalization” of Blood?
BL, NB: Although Blood is published by the American Society of Hematology, it is a fully international journal with no national borders. We actively invest in relationships with our readers and authors at the international level. We have increased our interactions with our international readers through the launch of special foreign editions, initially in Italy, Spain, and Latin-
America. Through these local language editions, we wish to contribute to the educational needs of our colleagues by enhancing their exposure to advances in the forefront of hematology. We are thrilled that new editions in Japan and China with new regional editorial teams are poised to join the collection. This is an exciting development for all of us: We develop stronger relationships with our international colleagues in those countries while at the same time, we contribute to the dissemination of the newest clinically relevant and biologically impactful information as widely as possible.
AND: Dr. Löwenberg, one of your early goals was to create a diverse roster of editors. Was this fulfilled, and how do you think your recruitment efforts have contributed to the vitality of the journal?
BL: Because the weekly issues of Blood sustain a vibrant bundle of innovative science and clinically relevant research, we have worked hard to build a close-knit team of editors. Thus, the editors and associate editors represent complementary specialized expertise and know-how and are geographically diverse. The team of associate editors is increasingly actively
engaged not only in our daily editorial work but also in shaping the strategic development of the journal.
AND: As we look forward to Dr. Berliner and Dr. Roberts taking the helm, what are some highlights of your “vision” for the journal that you are most excited about?
NB, AR: We are very excited to start weekly podcasts presenting leading features in the journal. This novel feature for Blood will feature three to five articles in the current issue that will be released on the same day as the print edition. This offers an opportunity to keep up with the cutting edge of hematology during, for example, a morning commute, and will incorporate the main features of the article with ancillary interpretation provided by the Inside Blood commentaries or by the special editors.
We also hope to build on our previous success with special article types with more How I Treat series, timely Review Series, and Spotlights on newly approved drugs. We will further highlight these series and perhaps other featured content in independent podcasts.