23 Nov 2016

Journal with heart grows from idea to global circulation

Heart Lung & Circulation
by Anne Crawford

In 1991 a small band of cardiothoracic surgeons had a vision: they would create a new cardiac journal, a platform for young and first-time authors to have their work published. For most Australian, New Zealand and Asian authors at the time there was no stepping-stone to publishing in high-quality international journals.

The surgeons – Professor Frank Rosenfeldt, Associate Professor Alan Gale and Professor Brian Buxton – initially encountered scepticism. There was not enough original cardiac surgical material coming out of a small country like Australia to support a journal, they were told, amongst other criticisms.

Twenty-five years later, worldwide interest in Heart, Lung and Circulation is expanding rapidly – digital download rates doubled in the last five years and in 2015 surpassed 250,000.

Professor Rosenfeldt, from the Monash-Alfred Department of Surgery, recounts the journal’s history in its August edition.

Initially called ‘The AustralAsian Journal of Cardiac Thoracic Surgery’, the publication first appeared in September 1991 after the Australasian Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons (ASCTS) was established to replace the Cardiothoracic Section of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). Soon afterwards other dedicated cardiothoracic surgeons formed the first editorial board. They were joined by eminent cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiologists from Asia.

The first three issues were “amateur productions” created by the editors with secretarial assistance, Professor Rosenfeldt writes. From 1993 to 1999 a Melbourne-based publishing company, Mi-tec Media, took over production. In June 1996 the journal was retitled ‘The Asia Pacific Heart Journal’ to include cardiology in its scope. The final title, ‘Heart, Lung and Circulation’ (HLC), was adopted in May 2000 to reflect the wide coverage of the journal including cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology and basic cardiovascular science.

The current publisher, Elsevier Medical Publishing, digitised the entire body of published issues of the journal – even before being awarded the publication rights in 2004 – and has since given considerable access to resources, editorial expertise, technical support with manuscript handling and financial management, Professor Rosenfeldt writes.

Originally co-located with the office of the ASCTS at the Baker institute and later at the Alfred Hospital, the journal moved its office to Sydney in 2000, when the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ) took up sponsorship and Sydney cardiologist Professor Richmond Jeremy became Editor-in-Chief.

Indexation on Medline in 2011 meant the journal finally achieved its aim of making published work emanating from the Australian, New Zealand and Asian regions available worldwide. Its authors now come from all over the world and HLC publications are cited in the published work of others, readily found via the PubMed database.

“What a journey over 25 years!” Professor Rosenfeldt writes. “I find it encouraging that no matter how good a new idea is, whether it be heart transplantation or innovative journal publishing, it will initially attract criticism and scepticism but fortunately this negativity can be worked through with the persistence of the innovators.”

Rosenfeldt F. Heart, Lung and Circulation: From Idea to Reality in a Quarter of a Century. Heart Lung Circ. 2016 Aug;25(8):735-9. doi: 10.1016/j.hlc.2016.05.107.

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