In this and in the next issue of Blood, immediately preceding the 54th American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting in Atlanta, we are happy to offer readers 6 articles written by speakers in the Education Program Sessions on topics chosen for their timeliness and relevance to the clinical practice of hematology. Each year the ASH Program Committee and the Education Program Co-Chairs invite nearly a hundred speakers to present important clinical updates to attendees targeting practitioners and trainees attending the Education Sessions. A yearly compendium of edited and peer-reviewed essays by each author summarizing these talks is published for the annual meeting. Receiving Hematology, the ASH Education Program, now a 30-year tradition, has become one of the most valued components of the ASH meeting for many attendees. The essays are also available year-round on the ASH Web site.
This year, the Blood and Hematology 2012 editors have joined to further feature a subset of these essays via publication in Blood to bring the education highlights of the ASH annual meeting to all of our readers, even to those not able to attend, and to offer a preview of some of the best of ASH to those about to depart for Atlanta. Blood also invites submission of the top abstracts presented at the meeting to be considered for publication as full papers in the journal.
Blood began publication in 1946, the brainchild of publisher Henry Stratton, who was neither a physician nor a scientist, but was fascinated by medicine and, particularly, by hematology. ASH was founded 12 years later, and Blood became the official journal of ASH in 1976, with responsibility for appointing the editors and the editorial board. However, it took almost 25 years for ASH to gain publishing control of Blood via purchase of the journal in 2000. Besides ensuring control of the journal as its publisher and the prestige of owning the world's premier hematology journal, there were significant financial benefits to the Society, with income generated via subscriptions, increased society membership, and advertising. The annual meeting and Blood continue to support other functions of the Society, including education, training programs, advocacy, international outreach, and hematology research support. With the National Institutes of Health grant support more difficult to obtain than ever before, and more drastic cuts looming, financial resources to support ASH's advocacy efforts and particularly to provide direct research support to investigators via ASH Scholar Awards and the new Bridge Grant program are increasingly important.
Therefore, ASH takes it stewardship of Blood very seriously, working to ensure editorial quality and independence by selecting an editorial team, providing strategic and financial oversight, and hiring and supporting the absolute best journal staff any Editor-in-Chief could hope for.
As Blood readers and members of ASH or the larger international hematology community, what can you do to support the journal? Stay actively involved as a reader, or perhaps a reviewer or an author. Ensure that your academic institution or hospital continues to subscribe to Blood. In the current fiscal climate, libraries are always under pressure to cut back on subscription costs, but Blood has progressive pricing policies designed to help smaller institutions. Send your best original hematology research papers to Blood, and suggest review and How I Treat article topics to the editors. We realize that there are more choices than ever for publication of your work. In the past decade, at least 15 new journals, most sponsored by for-profit publishers, compete for hematology clinical and basic science articles. We believe that nonprofit society-sponsored journals such as Blood provide the most knowledgeable and constructive editorial and peer-review processes, with 100% of our editors working full-time as practicing academic hematologists and scientists.
Blood continues its commitment to publishing the best articles representing the full range of clinical, translational, and basic hematology. No other field of medicine has provided so many clues to basic biologic processes and benefited patients as directly and quickly as a result of scientific advances. Publishing both scientific and clinical papers together in a single journal may result in a lower “impact factor” than does publishing only clinical papers. The impact factor can be manipulated and misused and is a seriously flawed metric for evaluation of the quality of individual papers, investigators, and journals. Thus it is unfortunate that over the past decade many academic institutions, particularly outside the United States, seem to have placed undue emphasis on this metric as a primary measure of an investigator's achievement. As academic hematologists serving on promotion committees, we hope you can counteract this simplistic focus.
Finally, as I prepare to complete my rewarding tenure of 10 years as Associate Editor and 5 years as Editor-in-Chief this December, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the journal's Associate Editors, Editorial Board members, reviewers, and authors as well as the Blood staff for their contributions to the journal. In particular, I would like to honor outgoing Associate Editors Grover Bagby, Michael Caligiuri, Genoveffa Franchini, Mohan Narla, Mortimer Poncz, Martin Tallman, and David Scadden. Each provided much appreciated wise counsel, hard work, and good cheer. The journal will be in great hands with the incoming Editor-in-Chief Bob Löwenberg and Deputy Editor Nancy Berliner, as well as a number of talented new Associate Editors. I wish them all the best, and I am excited about their new initiatives for taking the journal forward.