This issue marks the start of the 31 st year of the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography (JASE) and my first issue at its helm. I am honored to have been selected to continue the great editorial works of Harvey Feigenbaum and Alan Pearlman.
JASE 1.0: The Early Days
As its founding Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Feigenbaum oversaw the birth and development of JASE. By selecting the right combination of content, his efforts proved that there was a role for a specialty journal devoted to echocardiography. The Journal, with its mix of peer-reviewed original investigations (both clinical and pre-clinical), case reports, guidelines and standards documents, editorials, meeting summaries, and letters to the editor, quickly became a key component of the educational mission of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE). All members of the echocardiography community are indebted to Dr. Feigenbaum for many things, and prominent among those are his 20 years as JASE’s founding Editor-in-Chief.
In the first issue of the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography in January 1988, Dr. Pravin Shah guest edited a series of papers on cardiomyopathies. The authorship lists of these papers read like a roster from the Echocardiography Hall of Fame and almost all of the authors are still active in our discipline. For those who enjoy symmetry, one of those papers was a review of the echocardiographic features of Chagas Disease. Dr. Harry Acquatella was the first author of that paper and in this issue, many years later, he is the first author of the guidelines and standards document on multimodality cardiac imaging in patients with Chagas Disease. If one compares these documents, it will be seen that many things have changed over the past 30 years: the global reach of this disease has increased, we now have a larger tool box of non-invasive imaging techniques, our author lists have a broader international flavor, and many of our documents are now produced in collaboration with other organizations.
JASE 2.0: The Maturation Phase
For the past 10 years, Dr. Pearlman has shepherded the Journal through a time of tremendous growth in medical knowledge. His commitment to the Journal has been epic. He oversaw many enhancements to the Journal including development of a continuing medical education program, development of a dedicated JASE editorial office within the ASE headquarters, enhancements to the Journal’s web site so that all back issues are available, development of the cell phone/tablet app, establishing deeper connections with our international reviewers through an annual check-in at European meetings, and a new cover and layout of the Journal. With the Journal’s new “look,” the JASE moniker took hold and has become a common part of the vocabulary of ASE members. When JASE could no longer accommodate case reports, he recommended the development of CASE, ASE’s online journal dedicated to cardiovascular imaging case reports. Over the past 10 years, he and his team of associate editors have reviewed over 6,000 original manuscript submissions and published about 1,200 articles. His editorial team has helped thousands of authors communicate their findings more effectively and guided readers through the dense thicket of echocardiography literature.
Alan’s attention to detail is legendary. He read every submission to JASE regardless of its suitability for the Journal. An invitation letter from Alan to review a manuscript would commonly include his own critique of the paper and a detailed paragraph highlighting areas to which the reviewer should pay particular attention during their assessment. Regardless of whether a manuscript was accepted or rejected, he provided to the authors constructive comments that enhanced the value of each paper. He feels such an obligation to enhancing the quality of our medical literature that he made sure that even the authors of papers rejected by JASE received, in addition to the usual reviewers’ critique, a set of detailed personalized suggestions from the editor that could be used to enhance their manuscript’s chances of acceptance in another journal.
While we should be presenting Dr. Pearlman a gift to thank him for his service to the Journal, he, in fact, has left us a gift as he departs his position–his editorial team’s efforts have resulted in the growth of the Journal’s Impact Factor to 6.82, which now places JASE among the top cardiovascular journals. The impact factor is a measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year. The growth of the JASE impact factor is an external metric that quantifies his achievements. In an age of an increasing number of Cardiology journals, this is an amazing accomplishment.