CHEST® continues its high-impact influence, changes up leadership

Richard Irwin, MD, Master FCCP
Richard Irwin, MD, Master FCCP

CHEST® was recently awarded a two-year impact factor of 7.652, the highest in its history, but the Journal’s Editor in Chief Richard Irwin, MD, Master FCCP, believes the quality and influence of the journal is in the eyes of the beholder.

For example, if you’re the publisher, you look at revenue and advertising—which CHEST® has been a leader in the industry in—and advertisers want to purchase ads in the Journal because surveys show practicing pulmonologists have voted that CHEST® is of number one importance for them to read.

CHEST® has, time and time again in the surveys, been the number one journal in our field to be read,” Dr. Irwin said. “So continuing along in the theme of the ‘eyes of the beholder,’ if you are an investigator, it’s important to be published in high-impact factor journals because that particular metric is used by many, including promotion committees and academic institutions. And CHEST® qualifies as one of the top journals in our field.”

The impact factor is a measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular two-year period. However, Dr. Irwin likes to focus on the Eigenfactor score because it eliminates self-citations and reflects being cited in the very top journals. CHEST®’s Eigenfactor score is 0.06065, and using this score, CHEST® is ranked as the second highest journal in both respiratory and critical care categories.

“As long as I’ve been the editor in chief of the journal, we have made absolutely certain that we have not tried to game the system through self-citations,” Dr. Irwin said. “That’s why we put more stock in the Eigenfactor factor metric.”

The Journal, which CHEST members receive as part of their membership package, features peer-reviewed, cutting-edge original research in the multidisciplinary specialties of chest medicine: pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, thoracic surgery, cardiorespiratory interactions, and related disciplines.

The biggest change Dr. Irwin has experienced at the Journal happened when he began his stewardship in July 2005. He conducted a readership survey and ended up taking the advice of the associate editors, who have always been Dr. Irwin’s closest advisors. They changed the content to focus on respiratory issues, critical care issues, sleep issues, and cardiovascular interactions as they relate to the three subjects mentioned, instead of purely focusing on cardiology papers.

“It became clear that there were so many really excellent cardiology journals that we wouldn’t be able to compete for the best papers in the cardiology field, so we decided that we wouldn’t do that,” he explained.

The best way to get your manuscript published in the Journal is to focus on projects that have a chance of advancing the field, and novelty is an important part of doing that. Conducting an exhaustive research of the literature and/or carrying out a systematic review to see if your question has already been adequately answered is a great place to start, he added.

“Doing a systematic review is a great way to jumpstart your research or career in a particular area,” Dr. Irwin said.

Dr. Irwin will be stepping down from the Journal’s helm on June 30, 2019. After many successful years, he is ready to pass on the torch.

“One of the reasons why I wanted to be the editor in chief is to help advance the field,” he commented. “I think those of us on the editorial board, the associate editors, our deputy editor, and assistant to the editor have all taken a great deal of pride in how the Journal has done.”

The new editor will be Peter Mazzone, MD, MPH, FCCP, who works in the department of pulmonary medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.

“Peter is very bright, very hardworking, and very thoughtful,” he said. “I feel really good about turning over the stewardship of the Journal to him.”