Scientific research is a booming industry with increasing scientific knowledge over the decades having a profound impact on healthcare and wider society. From organ transplantation to stem cell therapies and from placing a man on the moon to the advent of driverless cars, the impact is clear and present. In the period 1996–2011, 15 million people authored 25 million scientific papers . Global biomedical research spending reached $240 billion in 2010 . However, there is a pressing need to improve the quality of research . Many voices have long called for this to happen and for a step change in quality . One of the key ways to move research forward is to publish a protocol before a study even begins. This allows for a peer-review process and hence an external sense check on the proposal. Are the right research questions being asked? Is the methodology appropriate and sufficiently high quality to get an answer to those research questions?
Chalmers and Altman specifically called for the publication of protocols in 1999, seeing it as a major opportunity of electronic publishing . However, their call was not answered and 19 years on and there is still minuscule protocol publication and few journals that even do it . We have marshalled the arguments for protocol publication, when we launched IJS Protocols, the first dedicated surgical protocols journal . The journal has got off to a strong start with many large research groups already publishing in the journal (www.ijsprotocols.com).
Why would authors publish in this new journal rather than the existing protocols journals. Excellent customer service, low author pay’s charges (APCs) and the backing of a fast-moving and successful journal publishing group in IJSPG (www.ijspg.com) are certainly some of the reasons. IJSPG together with its partners, has now published over 8,000 articles involving over 20,000 authors. In order to do this, there has to be a relentless focus and commitment to a high-quality peer-review process, driving down submission to decision times and acceptance to publication times as well as leveraging technology that helps our authors and reviewers be more productive.
AMS Protocols is launching on IJSPGs new platform, IJS Press (www.ijspress.com) which will see some new journal launches in addition to what we have been doing with Elsevier and Wolters Kluwer. We hope you will engage with the journal in the coming years and come to view it as a place you can be proud to publish your protocols and contribute to scientific advancement and scholarly exchange.