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As I step down as editor-in-chief of Value in Health, I would like to take a moment to reflect on my 8 years in this role. It has been an enormously challenging but exciting period in my career. In particular, there are two experiences that have been particularly interesting and important to me. First, I have experienced firsthand the role that a professional journal plays in the evolution of methods in a discipline. An example of this evolution that occurred during my tenure as editor-in-chief is the introduction of probabilistic sensitivity analysis (PSA) and the cost-effectiveness acceptability curve (CEAC) as essential components of a cost-effectiveness modeling analysis. Eight years ago, most cost-effectiveness models submitted to Value in Health did not include such analyses despite publications such as Doubilet et al. [1], Critchfield et al. [2], Fenwick et al. [3], Briggs & Fenn [4], and Briggs et al. [5] recommending the use of these methods as an integral part of decision analysis. Although submissions including these analyses became much more common over the last 8 years, many submissions during this period did not include such analyses and this prompted intense discussions among the coeditors about whether or not a PSA and CEAC should be required for all cost-effectiveness models published in the journal. We finally decided that this should not be a requirement. This was mostly because of our reluctance to dictate methods to authors.

But we reckoned without the peer-review process. Our peer-reviewers started asking for such analyses to be included in a revised paper when they were not provided in the initial paper. Generally, journal editors expect the authors to make changes in their article to respond to all the peer-reviewer comments. So now, the question changed from “Do we (the journal) require a PSA and CEAC?” to “Do I (the coeditor) tell the authors that they can ignore this reviewer comment if they can justify doing so?” But a coeditor typically does not tell an author to ignore a reviewer comment. So my advice now to anyone submitting a cost-effectiveness analysis to the journal would be to include a PSA and CEAC, not because the journal requires it, but because our reviewers expect it!

The second important thing that I have experienced as editor-in-chief is the value of the opinions of the coeditors and Editorial Advisory Board in setting journal policy or processes. The journal has greatly benefited from following the opinions of the majority of the coeditors or of the editorial advisory board. The changes in journal policies or processes during my tenure have been changes often suggested by coeditors or members of the Editorial Advisory Board and always endorsed by the majority of the coeditors and of the Editorial Advisory Board as well as the ISPOR board and their Management Advisory Board. These changes in journal policy or processes have sometimes been changes that I did not initially agree with but, in hindsight, they have always been ones that have kept the journal on a steady course and with a growing reputation for high quality publications. These policy and process changes have included:

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    a policy blinding reviewers to authors of an article;
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    a policy requiring authors of sponsored articles to have freedom to publish;
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    a policy that supplements dedicated to a single product are not acceptable supplement topics while other types of single-sponsor supplements may be acceptable;
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    a process that requires all supplement topics to be sent to the coeditors and the Editorial Advisory Board for approval before a contract is signed;
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    a process for a formal and independent supplement review process by special editors selected by the journal;
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    a process for creating press releases for all accepted articles;
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    a process for placing conference abstracts in separate journal issues with “A” page numbers; and
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    a process for articles going online early electronically before the printed version.

I was privileged to follow Joel Hay, the first editor-in-chief of Value in Health. Joel had laid a very strong foundation for the journal, setting up policies and procedures, getting the journal publications listed on electronic databases including Medline, and working with his coeditors to demand high standards from authors who wanted to publish in Value in Health. As well as this strong foundation, I have also been fortunate to work with a team of excellent coeditors and with an outstanding ISPOR editorial staff, all of whom have been critical to the journal's success. The Editorial Advisory Board and the Management Advisory Board and the publishers have also played important roles as journal policies have evolved. And last, but certainly not least, I would like to acknowledge the vital role that our submitting authors and our reviewers have played in ensuring the quality of journal publications. With so many excellent people actively involved with the journal during my tenure, I believe that the journal has continued to grow in stature, serving both the research and decision-maker communities. I know that the next era for the journal, under the leadership of Mike Drummond and Dan Mullins, will be a period of continued growth for the journal. I am delighted to be leaving the journal in such capable hands.

Source of financial support: None.

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