Gens Una Sumus


(Latin proverb: ‘We are one people’)

With this issue, a new editorial team takes the helm of Liver International for a five-year term. Liver International is the reincarnation of the journal ‘Liver’ which was founded in 1981 and enjoyed a respectable reputation in the hepatology world, publishing clinical and basic studies mostly focused on pathological/histological research. In 2003, the journal was renamed ‘Liver International’ and relaunched under the sponsorship of the International Association for Study of Liver (IASL). In keeping with the global purview of IASL, the editorial structure was designed to represent the world: five editors from each major continent. Thus the Continental Editors were: Tony Tavill, North America; Edna Strauss, South America; Michael Kew, Africa; Mei-Hwei Chang, Asia and Peter Jansen, Europe. After some time, it became clear that an Editor-in-Chief was necessary and Dr Jansen assumed this position of ‘first among equals’. In addition, the Associate Editors were also chosen from all continents.

Peter and his team have done an exceptional job in launching this ‘new’ journal. Under their stewardship, the journal has steadily risen in quality and quantity. It published six issues annually and two years ago, with increasing submission of high-quality manuscripts, increased to 10 issues per year. In 2006, it published 117 original research papers, both clinical and basic. Readers are invited to examine an issue from 2003 compared to 2007 and note the significantly improved quality of the research papers contained therein. Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in generally steady increase in the ISI citation index Impact Factor®. With a 2006 IF of 2.344, LI currently ranks 21st of 48 indexed gastroenterology/hepatology journals.

The new editorial team will therefore have ‘large shoes to fill’, but we will certainly strive our utmost to grow and improve the journal. The somewhat complicated editorial structure has been streamlined, with an Editor-in-Chief and 15 Associate Editors, but the global balance remains. The current team includes: Hartmut Jaeschke, Jenny Heathcote and Don Rockey from North America; Marco Arrese and Adrian Gadano from South America; Sanaa Kamal and Cihan Yurdaydin from Africa/Middle East; Jean-François Dufour, Rajiv Jalan, Richard Moreau and Francesco Negro from Europe; Young-Hwa Chung, Shuichi Kaneko, Han-Chieh Lin and Irene Ng from Asia. I am at once both proud and humbled to work with such a distinguished group of individuals with expertise spanning all major areas of clinical and basic liver research. My colleague in Calgary, Hongqun Liu, assumes the dual role of Assistant Editor and Editorial Manager.

Most journals' editorial boards serve essentially a decorative function. They are generally populated by ‘international stars’, and such a list of distinguished leaders lends credibility and prestige to the journal. Liver International's board is somewhat different. In addition to some ‘big names’, there are some individuals who are younger and perhaps less prominent internationally. I consider these the ‘rising stars’ of the future, and firmly believe that they will be established ‘names’ in the years to come. There are 97 persons from 43 countries represented here, thus making Liver International the only truly global liver journal. All major disciplines including physiology, pharmacology, cell biology, epidemiology, transplantation, surgery and pathology are represented on the board.

But beyond the number of countries represented by the editors and editorial board members, the journal has made some changes to reflect that indeed, we are one people. Readers will find several new features, some regular and others sporadic, designed to enlighten and entertain, including: ‘Liver International News’ written by a prominent local physician or investigator detailing the scope and spectrum of liver diseases in a certain country or region, the successes and challenges, and significant liver research ongoing in that region. ‘Liver International Image’ will feature an interesting liver disease or research image, such as a photograph, diagnostic image, histological or even basic research image. Debates will feature two experts debating a controversial clinical or research issue. Our goal is to make the journal as reader-friendly as possible, to both clinicians and investigators.

The cornerstone of any research-oriented biomedical journal of course remains original research papers. In that respect, Liver International continues to publish many papers from North America, Western Europe and Japan. In recent years, other Asian countries, such as China, Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong, have contributed significantly to the journal. Latin America has also been well represented. Consistent with this global source of manuscripts, our editorial philosophy is to evaluate submissions primarily on the scientific content/interest. English proficiency is less important. After all, there are many companies that will correct/revise the English in scientific papers. So while poor science remains a ‘fatal flaw’, poor English expression is potentially correctable. However, this should not encourage authors to submit horribly-written papers: editors and reviewers will not accept what they cannot understand.

We invite readers to examine Liver International, to be informed and entertained by the mix of cutting-edge clinical and basic research, topical reviews and other features. We invite authors to submit their research to our journal, to receive fair and efficient editorial processing of their manuscripts. We invite you, the liver world, to help make Liver International flourish.