2012: Year in Review – from dragons to snakes


  • Stephen Ackland Editor-in-Chief,

  • Yuko Fukuda Editorial Assistant

As we enter the year of the snake, it is fitting to reflect on progress and achievements for the Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology for 2012.

Firstly, I would like to send sincere thanks to all the 26 Associate Editors and the large number of reviewers who have volunteered their time and effort to ensure that APJCO remains a high-quality peer-reviewed journal. The peer review process is a critical element of quality medical publications, and must be conducted independently and confidentially. With an increasing number of submissions, we continue to maintain high standards in this regard. In 2012 we provided increased support for Associate Editors and peer-reviewers, providing access to the BMJ Guidance for Peer Reviewers, and specific advice related to assessment of tables, figures, quality of English writing, etc.

In 2012 the workload of the Journal increased substantially. We received 433 manuscripts, compared to 361 in 2011, and to date 291 have reached a final decision (including 10 reviews, 203 original articles, 48 case reports and 30 letters to the editor). In 2012 to date, the acceptance rate for original articles is 14%, compared to 20% in 2011 at a similar time point. Interested authors are advised that a Letter to the Editor is not a case report, but should discuss a contentious issue, or discuss issues that have arisen in relation to a recently published paper. In 2012, 41 papers were managed by the Editorial Committee without external peer review, almost all leading to rejection.

We published 48 original articles, up from 36 in 2011, as well as 12 review articles, a substantial increase over the 7 in 2011. Each published issue included an editorial.

Of the original articles published in 2012, 27 were in clinical science, reflecting the Journal's title and aims. We continue to seek and publish research on cancer biology as well as policy, economic and implementation issues of relevance in the Asia-Pacific region.

Publication highlights include articles on management of hepatocellular carcinoma with a covering editorial on transarterial chemoembolization in HCC, and several papers on lung cancer management in the Asia-Pacific region, again reflecting the Journal's focus on cancer care in the Asia-Pacific region, and its unique aspects compared to more Western countries. Reviews about biology and management of various gliomas, and adverse effects of sunitinib and other TKI's, should lead to optimised patient management in these conditions.

As a consequence of rapid but incremental changes in the publication industry, in July 2012 we moved to a primarily online journal. As a consequence we are able to publish increasing numbers of papers without prohibitive increase in costs. So far in 2012 we have published 17 articles as online only, complementing the 31 original papers published in the four print issues. In future we see a substantial growth in the online only section of the journal. To support this move the journal website has been upgraded and made more accessible for the scientific community.

Prospective authors are invited to consider various guidelines for the type of paper they wish to publish. For example, the CONSORT statement[1] provides guidelines for reporting randomised controlled trials. The most notable area warranting improvement, as seen by the Editorial Committee, is the reporting of potential biomarker studies. The REMARK guidelines are a series of recommendations of the US NCI and EORTC for reporting tumour marker prognostic studies,[2, 3] summarised as 11 points regarding the quality of patient specimens, assays, methodology, statistics, etc. Authors are advised to refer to these before finalising and submitting manuscripts in this field.

Finally, we welcome Professor Yajun Guo as a new senior Editor for the Journal. Prof. Guo is the Director of the Shanghai International Joint Cancer Institute, and an expert on therapeutic antibodies and immunotherapy in cancer. We look forward to his contribution to Journal strategy and operations. We thank Professor Da-tong Chu for his dedication as a stalwart supporter of the Journal since its inception, and wish him well in the future.