Committee spotlight

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Committee on Journal Publications Update

May 2018
Nora G. Singer, MD, Chair

The Committee on Journal Publications (CJP) has had a busy 2018, especially since February, when the ACR Board of Directors approved the committee’s proposal for establishment of a third official ACR journal. The ACR will be joining a number of other prestigious medical societies with respected and long-established flagship journals by launching - in January 2019 - a new journal that is entirely open access.

What does this mean for our members? Members already have access to the full text of any article in Arthritis & Rheumatology (A&R) or Arthritis Care & Research (AC&R), immediately upon publication. For the open access journal, this immediate access to full content will be available to anyone. No login will be required, and members can refer non-member colleagues (or family and friends) to any article in the new journal, to be read at any time. In addition, articles in the new journal will be published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which means they can be used, distributed, and reproduced in whole or in part in any medium by anyone, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is not for commercial purposes.

For members who are authors (as well as non-member authors), the electronic-only format of the open access journal, as well as other aspects of the review and production processes, will allow for faster review and publication. Both A&R and AC&R have enjoyed great success, with annual submission numbers in the thousands. The journal editors are not able to accept as many articles as they would like, and some articles reporting on well-performed studies with novel results fall just shy of the cutoff for acceptance. For these articles, the authors will be invited to take advantage of an internal resubmission to ACR Open Rheumatology, with expedited review (i.e., the review from A&R or AC&R would be utilized). Alternatively, authors may submit their article to the new journal first, without having submitted it earlier to A&R or AC&R.

Because there are no subscription fees, open access journals operate under an article publication charge (APC) business model. Authors pay a fee for publication of their accepted articles. In most cases an author’s grant support includes funds for this. The projected APC for the ACR’s new open access journal will be $2,500 (in line with the general standard) - but if the first or corresponding author is a member of ACR/ARHP it will be $2,000, a 20% discount.

Launching a whole new journal may be the biggest effort the CJP has undertaken. We have formed several subcommittees to take the lead on various pieces of this large task. One very important early undertaking was to “name the baby.”

After much consideration, deliberation, and input, we decided on a name that most clearly communicates exactly what - and who - the journal is: so the ACR’s new baby will be called ACR Open Rheumatology. We have ascertained from the ACR’s legal counsel that this name is not currently trademarked by anyone else, and they have filed a trademark application on our behalf.

The committee has been made aware recently of numerous online journals from so-called “predatory” publishers using names that are very similar to A&R. Predatory publishers intentionally give their journals names that could be confused with the name of a different, reputable journal, to mislead authors into submitting their work (and paying a fee) to what they think is the reputable journal but in fact is the “predator.” Although imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (as the saying goes), we believe it is important for our new journal to have a name that minimizes confusion and would be difficult to copy.

The CJP is excited that with the launch of ACR Open Rheumatology, the ACR will be the home of even more exciting and promising studies in rheumatology and rehabilitation research to advance the field and ultimately, benefit patients.