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Annual Report of the Editor-in-chief, Epilepsia

December, 1999

The current contract with Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ends on December 3 1, 2000. In order to evaluate other publishing options, the ILAE notified LW&W that it would send a Request for Proposal (RFP) to all major publishers of scientific, especially neuroscience, journals. The League retained Dr. Morna Conway as a publishing consultant to develop the RFP and evaluate the responses. Following an initial review of 16 proposals, additional information was obtained from several publishers, and a short list of four finalists was developed. The ILAE's Executive Committee will review the final submissions of this small group with Dr. Conway at its meeting on December 6th, 1999 in Orlando and determine how to proceed. Both the League's Executive and the Editor-in-Chief wish to acknowledge formally how supportive and forthcoming LW&W has been during this process.

Editorial Board
On December 31, 1999, eight members of the Editorial Board completed their terms. They are: Jean Aicardi (UK), Peter Camfield (Canada), Bernardo Dalla Bernadina (Italy), Christian Elger (Germany), Peter B.C. Fenwick (UK), John G.R. Jeffreys (UK), Marilyn Jones-Gotman (Canada), and Charles Polkey (UK). To all of these, my heartfelt thanks for hard work and wise advice.

Their replacements, effective January 1, 2000, are: Meir Bialer (Israel), Carol Camfield (Canada), Douglas A. Coulter (USA), Renzo Guerrini (UK), Rebecca Rausch (USA), JWAS Sander (UK), Eva Bettina Schmitz (Germany), Herman Stefan (Germany), Ortrud K. Steinlein (Germany), Federico Vigevano (Italy), Claude G. Wasterlain (USA) and Peter D. Williamson (USA). I look forward to working with these eminent experts, and I welcome them to the Joumal's Editorial Board.

Finally, the following individuals have agreed to serve an additional term: Joan K. Austin (USA), Arturo Carpio (Ecuador), Bruce Hermann (USA), Daniel Lowenstein (USA), Charles E. Ribak (USA), Mitsumoto Sato (Japan), Masakazu Seino (Japan), and Harry Vinters (USA). 1 appreciate the additional commitment and burden that these busy persons have agreed to accept.

Status of Manuscripts
During the 12 month period ending November 30, 1999, Epilepsia published 250 articles, of which 213 were full-length Research Reports, 38 were Brief Communications, one was a rapid communication, three were invited and peer-critiqued reviews ("Progress in Epilepsy Research"), and one was an Editorial Commentary. This represents an acceptance rate of 35 %. In addition, we published one ILAE Commission Report and five special articles:

- Lowenstein DH, Bleck T, Macdonald RL. "It's time to revise the definition of status epilepticus"

- Jilek-Aall L. "Morbus sacer in Africa: some religious aspects of epilepsy in traditional cultures"

- French J, Smith M, Faught E, Brown L. "Practice advisory: The use of felbamate in the treatment of patients with intractable epilepsy.

- Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society" Elferink JGR. "Epilepsy and its treatment in the ancient cultures of America"

- Kerson F, Schwaber T, Kerson LA. "The depiction of seizures in film"

The geographic origin of published research reports is given in Appendix A.

The journal also regularly published announcements, a calendar, book reviews, letters to the editor, and several messages from the Editor.

Under the current contract with Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, each issue is limited to 112 editorial pages. This includes the Table of Contents, Letters to the Editor, Calendar, and Announcements. ILAE reports are published as extra pages. The Editorial Office processed 707 manuscripts between December 1, 1998 and November 30, 1999. This represents a 28 % increase over the previous year. Last year, the acceptance rate was only 24%, a figure that seemed too restrictive, especially because the number of editorial pages had not risen to accommodate the steady rise in manuscripts submitted. This year, LWW generously provided additional pages, including two "double issues." As a result, we were able to publish 35 % of submitted manuscripts, the same percentage as in 1994 and 1995. A new contract will increase the number of editorial pages substantially. Revisions ranging from minor to extensive are required in 99% of accepted manuscripts. Average initial review time averages 3 to 6 weeks, but delinquent reviewers occasionally take up to three months despite repeated prodding by Telephone, facsimile, and e-mail. I am, however, pleased to report that the number of delinquent reviewers has been reduced substantially in the last year; however, it is still excessive. Authors take from 2 weeks to 9 months to revise manuscripts and return them to the Editorial Office. Average time from acceptance of a manuscript to publication is 5.5 - 6 months.

Status of Supplements
The following 11 supplements were published in 1999 under the editorial direction of Dr. Robert S. Fisher, Supplements Editor:

1. Status epilepticus in adults and children: New developments

2. Abstracts, 23rd International Epilepsy Congress, Prague

3. Genetics and epilepsy (EUREPA Teaching Course), Warsaw

4. Electronic screen games and seizures

5. New antiepileptic drugs (AES annual course)

6. Neurontin: Expanding the clinical experience

7. Abstracts, AES Annual Meeting

8. Economic aspects of epilepsy: an overview (ILAE Commission)

9. Women's issues in epilepsy

10. Gabitril: Current aspects, future perspectives

11. Mood disturbances, psychoses and epilepsy

Dr. Fisher is also concerned that the Supplement Guidelines need to be modified to deal prospectively with proposals for single-drug issues. He is proposing that the current policy be modified

The total number of 1999 paid subscribers is 4,032 compared to 4,067 in 1998. All ILAE chapters who are in good standing receive complementary copies of the journal. In addition, selected medical schools and hospitals in developing countries receive complementary subscriptions. The total number of complimentary copies distributed for each issue is 200.

ISI Science Citation Index
For 1998, the last year for which information is available, Epilepsia's impact factor was 2.525, down from 2.928 in 1997. The journal's standing fell from 14th place among 106 journals to 19th among 124 journals. The reasons for this are not known. The Science Citation Index currently lists 124 journals under the heading of "Clinical Neurology". Several of the new additions, including three listed ahead of Epilepsia, represent transfers from the "Neuroscience" category. Assignment of a journal to one or the other categories is sometimes arbitrary.

The impact factor of a journal is a measure of the frequency with which the „average article" in that journal has been cited by other journals in the database over a particular time period. Article citation rates are said to peak in the second year after publication. Original articles, reviews and technical notes are included in the analysis (as are articles included in a journal's supplements). The 1998 data are based on citations in the two previous years, 1996 and 1997. For any journal, the impact factor is calculated by dividing the total number of citations the journal received in the time period being analyzed by the number of articles published in the journal during the same interval.

For purposes of comparison, the following may be of interest:
Journal 1998 Impact Factor (1997) Rank
Annals of Neurology 9.455 (9.513) 1
Brain 5.952 (5.663) 2 (3)
Neurology 4.972 (4.526) 5 (5)
Stroke 4.880 (4.323) 7 (6)
Archives of Neurology 3.375 (3.779) 11 (8)
J Neurol Neurosurg Psych 2.938 (3.041) 15 (12)
Epilepsia 2.525 (2.928) 19 (14)
Clin Neurophysiol 2.450 (2.400) 21 (16)
Epilepsy Research 2.351 (1.712) 23 (35)
Movement Disorders 2.136 (1.908) 27 (25)
Sleep 1.880 (1.678) 30 (37)
Seizure 0.790 (0.798) 76 (67)
Journal of Epilepsy 0.591 (0.645) 92 (75)

Epilepsia On-Line
LWW has implemented an electronic on-line version of Epilepsia, which Dr. Engel and I have piloted and approved for general use beginning on January 1, 2000. Current issues will be available at the same time as hard copies are mailed out. Back issues for several years will be available on line.

Financial Matters
The Treasurer of ILAE, Dr. Giuliano Avanzini, and the Management Committee handle all financial and business matters related to Epilepsia. The Editor-in-Chief submits a proposed budget each calendar year.

Epilepsia Digest

Epilepsia Digest
, the quarterly condensed version of Epilepsia for physicians in developing countries, is now in its fourth year. The cost of printing and distribution has been met by Novartis India in return for exclusive advertising rights for distributions of the Digest in the subcontinent. It is regularly available now in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Dr. Kale is establishing to 1) increase the subscriber base; and 2) make the Digest available to other countries outside the Indian subcontinent. The ILAE has already identified and approved the countries to which the journal should be sent, and a questionnaire was mailed in the autumn to ILAE chapters in these developing countries to identify a key individual who is willing to receive and distribute copies of the Digest, the number of copies needed, and mechanism of payment or support.

We have recommended to the ILAE that Novartis Basle be approached regarding their interest in suppor-ting the Digest more widely in developing countries. Novartis India has supported this proposal.

Major Objectives for 2000
1) Implement electronic version of Epilepsia

2) Continue to reduce the length of time for review turn-around of manuscripts with a goal of no more than 21 days.

3) Expand the use of editorial commentaries and "Progress in Epilepsy Research" invited articles as increased editorial pages become available.

4) Continue high-quality "academic" supplements under Dr. Fisher's direction.

We continue to receive substantial assistance and support from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Publishers, especially Marcia Serepy, Ellice Gerber, and Jennifer Duhamel. I am grateful to the efforts of our anonymous reviewers, and to the hard work of our Book Review Editor, Eleanor Ben-Menachem, and our Supplements Editor, Dr. Fisher. Finally, I cannot conclude without thanking my editorial assistant, Ms. Shirley Susarchick, without whom the New York Editorial Office could not function.

Timothy A. Pedley, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Epilepsia


Geographic Origin of Articles Received
December 1, 1998 - November 30, 1999
Australia 11
Belgium 3
Brazil 15
Canada 15
China 5
Cuba 1
Czech Republic 1
Denmark 2
Ecuador 2
Egypt 2
Finland 2
France 15
Germany 30
Greece 3
Hungary 2
Iceland 4
India 10
Israel 4
Italy 23
Japan 54
Mexico 2
New Zealand 2
Netherlands 9
Norway 9
Saudia Arabia 4
Spain 11
Sweden 7
Switzerland 2
Turkey 11
United Kingdom 25
United States 145

Return to Annual Report 2000 Table of Contents





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