Overview of the WJH and BPG update
Ruo-Yu Ma summarized the current situation of the WJH and the BPG:
One hundred and seventy-six editorial board members from myriad countries across the globe contribute to the development of the journal. From its launch in 2009 to today in 2019, the WJH has published 1081 articles. Among these, the total cites is 13040 and the average cites per article is 12.1. The current number of total visits to the WJH homepage is about 1.6 million, of which 23% of those visits are from the United States and 21.4% from China. The WJH is now abstracted and indexed in PubMed, PubMed Central, ESCI, and major academic databases in China. BPG will submit an application to Clarivate Analytics in 2019, with anticipation of its being abstracted and indexed in SCIE.
BPG itself has 27 years of experience in editing and publishing medical journals. BPG currently publishes 43 clinical medical journals covering a wide range of topics, 7 of which are indexed in SCIE, 6 in ESCI (including the WJH), and 23 in PubMed and PubMed Central.
At the end of her presentation, Ruo-Yu Ma introduced her working experience in BPG, welcomed the attendees and expressed her hope that new ideas would be proposed to bring the journal to the next level.
The attendees asked questions based on Ruo-Yu Ma’s presentation, e.g., the acceptance rate of the manuscript submitted, the time for peer reviewing and the indexing situation, and described their impression of the journal and their own experience of submitting and publishing manuscripts in the WJH. They proposed many good ideas on how to improve the scientific quality of the journal and how to enhance the impact and visibility. Dr. Pan pointed out that one of the major purposes of the meeting was to make the WJH abstracted and indexed in SCIE and gain a good impact factor (commonly known as the IF). The discussion was based mainly on the two aspects of developing a good journal: the business aspect and the academic aspect.
Editorial board’s impression of the WJH: The editorial board thought that the WJH had been doing a good job but still had a long way to go. Dr. Ruiz-Margáin had submitted a manuscript to the WJH, and she said the software service was easy in general. The response from the reviewers was fast as well, which made her always like to submit manuscripts to the BPG journal series. According to Dr. Hu’s experience, he thought that the submission process was a little cumbersome, because he spent more than an hour to deal with the guidelines and the files required. For clinicians who have very busy work, they would not like to spend plenty of time on the submission process. Dr. Pyrsopoulos also mentioned the importance of a user-friendly software.
Business plan of journal development: Dr. Pan first suggested that the major business of the WJH should be moved from China to the United States, because a majority of the Chinese scientists choose to publish in journals with IFs, while in the United States, scientists care more about whether the journal is indexed in PubMed. The shift of the focus may help to involve more active researchers.
Dr. Pyrsopoulos gave some good suggestions on how to advertise the journal and increase visibility based on his MBA background: (1) Advertisement in the conferences held in the United States, Europe and the Pacific, e.g., to set a booth in the exhibition hall and the editorial board members who attend the meeting can help advertise. The editorial board suggested that BPG should attend the APASL2020 in March 2020. (2) Promoting the journal (e.g., good manuscripts, editorial events) via social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Dr. Pyrsopoulos pointed out that BPG will attract plenty of followers through social networks. Dr. Ruiz-Margáin suggested that BPG can send a link of the manuscript to the author once the it is published so that the authors can share the link through social media. This will increase the cites of the published article as well.
Scientific aspect of journal development: The editorial board was very concerned about the quality control of the WJH. Based on the concern, Ruo-Yu Ma introduced the current tracking system for the assessment of the peer reviewers. Dr. Pan stressed the importance of the database to track the reviewers’ performance. The quality of the journal is associated with the quality of the peer reviewers. The reviewers can neither be too picky nor too easy, actually, they should screen the manuscripts that meet the level of the WJH. The reviewers should write the peer-review report seriously and send the feedback timely. BPG can rate the peer reviewers according to their reviewing quality and only leave the high-quality reviewers in the database. The editorial board also suggested that 2-3 reviewers would be enough for reviewing a manuscript. The more reviewers are involved, the harder the decision will be made, and the authors will be confused as well.
Dr. Ruiz-Margáin noticed that many good reviews were published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology (WJG), and the WJH should invite highly influential reviews as well. For manuscript invitations, the editorial board suggested that BPG should raise the invitation threshold and should not reject the invited manuscripts. The list of the invited scientists should be previewed by the editors-in-chief and the associate editors, and the invited manuscript can be directly reviewed by the editorial board members for good quality control.
In order to expand the manuscript sources, BPG should “bend down” to pay for good manuscripts submitted to WJH, e.g., to pay for language editing of the manuscripts with important scientific or clinical value. The journal should maintain a balance between making money to feed itself and improving the quality. Some manuscripts may not meet the level of the WJG; however, they may be good enough to be published in the WJH. These manuscripts should be transferred directly to the WJH for free. In this way, the WJH obtains good manuscripts while the authors will be satisfied.
The attendees believed that 176 members are too many for the editorial board of the WJH. Therefore, it is very import to develop an assessment system for the editorial board performance. An annual report of the assessment should be sent to every editorial board member so that they will be encouraged by what they have done and will contribute more actively in the future. BPG can also award the board members for their contribution. Besides, BPG can launch a newspaper for the editorial board members, to let them know the updates of the WJH and BPG. The scale of the editorial board should be downsized to around 50 people for a better management and quality control. Those who neither review the manuscripts nor publish their work in the WJH should be removed from the editorial board.
Culture of the journal: The minor comment from the editorial board is to cultivate a culture for the WJH. Since there is an article processing charge for publishing in the WJH, the editorial board suggested that the fee should be discounted for authors from low-income countries and young fellows without financial support. These young fellows will appreciate the journal for helping them publish their articles and will contribute more good work to the journal in the future. Encouraging the young fellows to publish their good work can form a good culture of the WJH.
At the end of the discussion, Dr. Pan summarized the efforts that should be made for the development of the WJH: (1) Quality assessment of the reviewers and the editorial board members; (2) A more user-friendly online system; and (3) Successful marketing. Dr. Pan expressed his hope that the WJH should receive the first IF within 2 years.