I am Anil K Mandal, MB, BS, FACP, FCP, FASN, Professor form Medical Specialists of Northeast Florida, United States (Figure 1), together with Professor Josep M Campistol from the University of Barcelona, Spain, we will be the co-Editor-in-Chief of the World Journal of Nephrology (World J Nephrol, WJN, online ISSN 2220-6124, DOI: 10.5527). I am very pleased to announce that the first issue of the WJN, on which preparation was initiated on February 14, 2011, is officially published on February 6, 2012. The WJN Editorial Board has now been established and consists of 103 distinguished experts from 30 countries. I feel obliged to convey my heart-felt appreciation to Professor Lian-Sheng Ma, President and Editor-in-Chief of the World Series of journals, and the members of the editorial board of WJN for bestowing this honor on me.
Figure 1 Editor-in-Chief of the World Journal of Nephrology.
Anil K Mandal, MB, BS, Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, Mandal Diabetes Research Foundation, 665 State Road 207, Suite 102, Saint Augustine, FL 32084, United States.
By virtue of the duties ascribed to this position, I have the arduous task of composing the inaugural editorial. At the outset, I ask an important question, “Why do we need another nephrology journal when there are already 30 in the market?” In answer, we can look at the focus of those other 30. Only four of them have a clinical focus and only a few are produced independently. Most of the nephrology journals, like other journals, are produced by different societies. The aim of these journals is to offer its services as an efficient vehicle for the international dissemination of scientific information. In the narrowest sense, the term nephrology relates to the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases in man. Nevertheless, the art and science of nephrology are derived from a clinical mixture of information from several scientific disciplines, as well as experimental evidence whose immediate relevance in the practice of nephrology may have seemed less important at the time. According to Dr. RR Robinson, a nephrology journal should be multi-disciplinary and sufficiently broad to be termed “kidney-oriented” at least. A commitment to accommodate a heterogeneous group of individuals with divergent interests, talents and research background poses a real challenge to the editor of any categorical journal; the clinical nephrologist, the clinical scientist and the basic scientist must be made to feel at home among its pages.
Thus, the intention of a society’s journal is good but its fulfillment is imperfect. Pitifully, the delivery of the intention by the editor and the editorial board is often influenced by factors outside of the scientific merit of the work submitted for publication. There are often various types of bias at work in the decision making process. As a result, many good articles are not published while many mediocre articles are printed.
Great articles on renal physiology, pathophysiology, pathobiology or epidemiology, and pathophysiology of diabetes were published in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. These types of articles are relevant to improve our knowledge and understanding, thereby helping us to develop improved strategy and deliver better care to renal patients with a goal of prevention. Briggs and Hostetter have stated that, despite the impressive strengths of renal epidemiology, the evidence base for many of the important clinical questions that nephrologists face remains inadequate.
Over the years, the cost of publication has skyrocketed and thus many nephrology societies are taking the financial help of pharmaceutical companies to maintain their journal services. As a result, journal pages are crowded with clinical drug trials, almost completely replacing articles on water and electrolytes metabolism or acid base disorders which are far more common in the everyday practice of nephrology. Often, one third to one half of a journal’s content is concerned with drug therapy rather than scientific findings of cause and / or prevention.
The opening editorial of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN) clearly states that much important work on the treatment of kidney disease is sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. There is much work to be done and clearly a role to be played by the CJASN, but one hope for our new journal is that, by contributing to improvements in renal clinical trial methods, we can help to increase pharmaceutical interest beyond expensive drug therapies.
AIMS AND SCOPE
It is now my responsibility to reveal to our readers why this new journal has come to be. Our main purpose is not to compete head to head with other nephrology journals, but to incorporate the fields of diabetes, urology, cardiology and neurology, which are related to kidney disease, and to make all of our readers, contributors and allied health professionals feel at home with the WJN. While society members receive journals free of cost, the majority of allied health professionals must subscribe at a high price which limits the readership. The information readily available online also contributes to a rapidly vanishing need for books and journals. One important objective of the WJN will be to make our articles available online in an economical manner.
The WJN aims to rapidly report new theories, methods and techniques for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and nursing in the field of nephrology. The WJN covers diagnostic imaging, disorders of kidney development, renal obstruction, atrophy and regeneration, kidney tumors, renal pharmacology, therapy of renal disease, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, kidney transplantation, traditional medicine, integrated Chinese and Western medicine, evidence-based medicine, epidemiology and nursing. The journal also publishes original articles and reviews that report the results of applied and basic research in fields related to nephrology, such as immunology, physiopathology, cell biology, pharmacology, medical genetics and pharmacology of Chinese herbs.