1. Salcido, Richard MD

Article Content

As with every system or living organism, the anatomy and physiology of a journal changes over time. And, with every physiologic process and living system as in our journal, we are concerned with senescence and we strive to continuously rejuvenate the journal with a deliberate periodic review of our processes. To that end, we have incorporated feedback from our readers, peer reviewers, editorial board, editorial staff, and publishers. Advances in Skin & Wound Care has been fortunate to maintain a loyal following (approximate circulation is 19,640) and a steady flow of high-quality manuscripts that are peer reviewed by our erudite editorial advisory board and peer-review panel. Advances in Skin & Wound Care remains one of the most quoted journals in the wound care field. Moreover, because of the prominence of the journal, it has achieved an abbreviated term of endearment, simply referred to as "Advances" by many readers. We are also honored to have endorsements from the American Professional Wound Care Association and the National Alliance of Wound Care.

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In order for the journal to "advance," we must be engaged in a continuous quality improvement process in journalism, which can be characterized in a quote by Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), one of the most quoted men of the 18th century:


"It is common to find young men ardent and diligent in the pursuit of knowledge; but the progress of life very often produces laxity and indifference; and not only those who are at liberty to choose their business and amusements, but those likewise whose professions engage them in literary inquiries, pass the latter part of their time without improvement, and spend the day rather in any other entertainment than that which they might find among books." (February 2, 1760)


Our "pursuits" are to attract quality manuscripts, process them, and package the "books," not only to entertain, but to provide advanced knowledge to clinicians so they can apply the principles, tactics, and techniques gained by the "pursuit of knowledge" to the primary customer-the patient.


What Is a Journal's Anatomy?

Simply put, anatomy involves the form and function of a system or an organism. The changes we have made to the anatomy of our journal were done to improve its presentation (form) and our ability to publish advanced content and quality peer-reviewed manuscripts (function).


What Is a Journal's Physiology?

Physiology looks at how a system or an organism works. The peer-review process can be thought of as part of the physiology of the journal. The process is circular and starts with the perceived quality of the journal. This quality serves as the magnet for manuscripts, which we receive in abundance because of the journal's reputation.


Once a manuscript is received, it is uploaded to an automated peer-review software program (Editorial Manager) and is assigned appropriate peer reviewers, who are charged with evaluating the applicability and scientific validity of the manuscript. The system employs dialogue using qualitative and quantitative methods to evaluate the manuscript. Ad hoc reviewers will occasionally be assigned, especially in areas requiring expertise outside that of the peer-review panel-health care economics, biostatistics, or ethics, for example.


At least 3 peer reviews are conducted on each manuscript. Nearly all manuscripts are returned to the authors for modifications per the reviewers' comments and suggestions for improving the article. Most manuscripts, in fact, go through several modifications, with some being reviewed a second or third time. Others are rejected outright if they are not appropriate for the readership. It is the collective opinion of the peer reviewers that determines the final outcome of a manuscript. The peer-review panel is the critical "physiologic" factor in the success of the journal.


Editorial Advisory Board

As the journal continues its metamorphosis and self-evaluation process, more changes will be made. Currently, we are finalizing changes to the editorial advisory board and peer-review panel. To select new board members, we invited current editorial board members to submit nominations for an editorial advisory panel and a peer-review panel. The criteria for selecting our board includes such factors as timeliness and quality of past reviews, level of activity in the field (ie, active research, clinical practice, or education in skin and wound care), and professional networks and web of affiliations (ie, the nominee's reputation in the field and leadership in professional organizations). We sought diversity in the profession as well.


As of this writing, formal invitations are being extended to the nominees whom we believe will make the best contributions to the future of the journal. We are adding more reviewers in the specialty areas of medicine and surgery, pediatrics, nursing, rehabilitation, and research methods.


The Industry Connection

To maintain the integrity of a journal such as Advances in Skin & Wound Care, the potential elements of transparency and conflict of interest must be closely monitored. Thus, I'd like to address the possible impact that industry may have in a peer-reviewed journal. From a marketing perspective, industry may play a financial role in the form of support for advertising and supplements to the journal. This is crucial to our ability to provide readers with a scientific journal that features articles from leading clinical researchers, cutting-edge skin and wound care information, and quality educational offerings. Moreover, industry must have an opportunity to showcase the results of their individual contributions and investments in research, development, and patient care.


Researchers and educators from industry, as well as from academia, have made valuable contributions to the journal through peer reviews, independent of the marketing functions of their companies, with of course full disclosure of any potential real or perceived conflicts of interest. This is an appropriate use of their expertise, and we plan to continue our relationships with industry now and in the future. Many of our current and new editorial advisory board members have significant National Institutes of Health grant portfolios and many have funded research through industry-all of which are disclosed through established policies and procedures.


Despite these benefits to the journal, we are ever cognizant of the absolute need for ethical presentation of our accepted manuscripts and we adhere to a rigorous disclosure of any real or apparent conflicts, including the inherent potential for bias. In this regard, our peer reviewers have a well-developed sense of detecting signs of bias if they exist in a particular manuscript under review.


As we move forward with our plans to redefine the editorial board, I wish to extend my deepest gratitude to the current editorial advisory board members and peer-review panel for their continuing support of a work in progress. I also want to personally thank those rotating off the board or panel for their tireless efforts to enhance our product. I look forward to working with all of you in the future.


Richard "Sal" Salcido, MD

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1. Cooper RJ, Gupta M, Wilkes MS, Hoffman JR. Conflict of interest disclosure policies and practices in peer-reviewed biomedical journals. J Gen Intern Med 2006;21:1248-52.


2. Quotes on Stagnation: Accessed on December 10, 2008.


3. Salcido R. Anatomy and physiology of the editorial process. Adv Skin Wound Care 2000; 13:140-2.