Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases (2015) 25, 1e2

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Welcome aboard This issue of NMCD is a truly transitional one. I take over the role of Editor-in-Chief from Pasquale Strazzullo, another extraordinary member of the inexhaustible Neapolitan school. I am the first not from Naples. This makes me feel honored, proud to have been chosen. But I must also confess my anxiety in continuing the skilled success of my predecessors. Certainly Thomson Reuters, the source of the annual Impact Factor (IF) scores, has certified the authority of NMCD. With the last IFs released (2013), NMCD has scored as second monthly journal steadily based in Italy and, in my field e diabetes e the fifth IF among all journals, worldwide. What was the inspired perspective that prompted Prof. Mario Mancini, the founder of NMCD, to initiate the adventure of sailing the seas of science a quarter of century ago? As a matter of fact, Prof. Mancini was, and still is, an experienced sailor; he understood how to take advantage of the different winds coming from the fields of Nutrition, Metabolism, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases to keep his sailing ship straight through the route to scientific progress. Several captains have led this ship since then, enriching the crew’s officers with representative members from the owners of NMCD: the Italian Societies of Diabetology (SID), for the Study of Atherosclerosis (SISA) and Human Nutrition (SINU), in addition to the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery from “Federico II University” in Naples. It might appear a crew too jammed, but again different origins, inspirations and thoughts have implemented the role of NMCD as agora of science. Each month I receive my printed copy of NMCD: excited, I quickly remove the plastic bag, flip through a few pages, and then put it in perfect order in its place on the bookshelf, not opening it further, ever. Yes, I do not read printed papers or journals anymore, spending all my updating time in front of two large 2400 PC screens. All journals are migrating to the web, and this will be our destiny. The web is certainly an extraordinary tool for the progress of science. As soon as a manuscript is accepted, its data are available worldwide, even before they are proofed. That is, with joy, months of spared time, spared money, paper, ink, trees. But the immensity of the web raises some concerns. As any of you, I receive twice or three times a day invitations to publish my data on a very 0939-4753/ª 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

brand new, very unknown journal. I have never explored this chance as an author, but was nevertheless curious enough to navigate within the websites of these journals and editors. They appear well organized, interesting, priced as any other successful journal. Often, going through their indexes, I am fascinated by inspired titles, attracting my curiosity to go through the data. However, maybe as a consequence of my experience with NMCD, these data are too often poorly presented or discussed, frequently achieving undemonstrated conclusions. Do these journals contribute to science? Does this unfiltered and perhaps inappropriately reviewed mass of data add knowledge to our work? You probably will agree with me that the answer is the same: very little. So, why are these on-line journals published? The reason is a very simple one: business. Publishers well recognized the compulsive craving for publications of scientists worldwide, all following the bad practice of “publish or perish”, and simply satisfy them, asking the same fees required to get an “open access” article on the most prestigious journals. Yet, business is also the aim of NMCD’s Publisher; but Elsevier managers recognize that, without good science, their journals will lose their prestige, and they their business. I am confident they’ll do their best to improve their journals, including our NMCD. Some kind of filtering should be performed, but who has enough authority to govern such important filter? Further, filtering means censorship, which evokes more of an oligarchic government than democracy, and scientific oligarchy is most probably the major obstacle to scientific progress. Nevertheless, filtering does take place already. In fact, if your paper is not on PubMed, or Scopus, it is not reachable, it does not exist. Those a bit older like me will certainly remember the hours spent on Index Medicus or Current Contents. The delivery of the last issue of our favorite journal was expected as the event of the month, and reading the chosen articles was more attractive (at least to me) than Umberto Eco’s best novel. Now with PubMed and Scopus it is all much easier, even too easy. Again no filter is set and all reported articles are posted at the same level of importance; how many times have you tried to go through a search on PubMed with a couple of keywords, getting


tons of references on unknown journals? I might be too pretentious, but how many times do my students come up with the last review on the “World Journal of Internal Medicine” (with an IF < 1) instead of the NEJM? I do not like the Impact Factor. It certainly certifies quotations, but not the true impact of a journal or an article. Similarly, I hate the Hirsch Index, which mostly certifies prolificacy of colleagues, but is far from ascertaining their validity. Further, age fosters HI; age-corrected Hirsch Indexes have been generated, but they are not worth the time it takes to calculate them. Nobel Prizes are not based on HI. One day a fortunate scientist will publish the cure for type 1 diabetes. He or she will win, later on, the Nobel Prize, even if the original article will value an HI of just 1. However, I believe, all colleagues choose the journal to publish their best work mostly based on the Impact Factor. If NMCD’s IF stays at least as high, more colleagues will submit their work, giving us the chance to choose, hopefully, the best science. Therefore, keeping NMCD’s IF high is probably the best tool for an EiC to keep high the level of science. Although the IF should be my major mission, there is not much I can do for the very next years. Just as a reminder, a journal’s IF is the ratio between citations and articles of the two preceding years. Starting my appointment in 2015, “my very own” IF will be published only in


June 2017, six months before the end of my mission. Nevertheless, as new Editor-in-Chief, I will do my best to keep our IF as high as possible. Because being here is a privilege, even just for the opportunity to read all the articles, reviews and rebuttals. How will I accomplish this difficult job? In 2014 we received about 700 submissions, with room enough to publish less than 20% of them. A difficult task. Each time I ask myself, the CoEditors, Associate Editors and hundreds of referees: “Do these data contribute to our knowledge? Will they generate new ideas? Will they help our profession or our patients?” If the answer is yes, we’ll go for it. No matter if the data are unpublished or novel, they might be such just because nobody cares! NMCD is the only journal that sails along the winds coming from Nutriton, Metabolism, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases. These winds will never end. And now, welcome aboard for the next journey. Andrea Giaccari, Editor-in-Chief Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Policlinico Gemelli, Rome, Italy E-mail address: [email protected]

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