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From the Editor-in-chief of Cancer

CancerPositive Developments at Cancer

Dear Colleague,

When I was named Editor-in-Chief of Cancer, the oldest and one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed journals in the field of cancer research and care, I accepted full responsibility for a journal that contains so much of our shared history as researchers and care providers in the field of cancer. This journal was already in excellent shape at the time I assumed my current role, and our vision for the journal is founded on the belief that we must enhance its strengths and overcome the challenges that Cancer will face in this modern year of high-level competition. My experience with Cancer and the American Cancer Society was critical to my own career development. I obtained my first peer-reviewed grant from the ACS (a Clinical Oncology Career Development Award) and learned the importance of evidence-based medicine from several mentors, publishing my first senior-authored paper in this very journal. I assumed the Editor-in-Chief job in 2011 from Dr. Raphael Pollock, a distinguished surgeon/scientist who himself expanded the journal, having succeeded the great Dr. Robert Hutter. Cancer’s history is replete with original descriptions of disease states, defining observations of novel therapies and new populations, and epidemiologic trends describing the most susceptible and most resistant of peoples. The journal remains a powerful engine for modern discovery and new knowledge, even as it retains the treasure trove of our past scientific accomplishments, our trials and tribulations as a society of collegial, competitive, but ultimately dedicated strivers for new frontiers of knowledge. Cancer remains vibrant, well-positioned, and forward-looking thanks to a succession of outstanding editors. But even the most successful enterprises of our 21st century must adapt to change and evolve in order to excel.

This letter will therefore inform you, an author who has submitted recent work to Cancer, about a number of positive developments at the journal.

1. Cancer continues to focus on publishing ground-breaking work. This is work that is likely to have a substantial meaningful impact on the field. We do not restrict our publications to uniformly positive results, and are not seeking to further burnish our reputation as the ultimate repository of this scientific history of our community. While we certainly aspire to publish highly positive landmark controlled trials, both clinical and epidemiologic, as well as fundamental biologic discoveries, important negative data are also something we do publish if they are believed likely to have a substantial and meaningful impact on the field.

2. Cancer aspires to be among the most highly cited and selected journals in oncology. We will accomplish this without dramatically reducing our focus on disseminating the most important information to our audience. As such, we have instituted a peer-review process where approximately 16% of all manuscripts submitted to Cancer will be accepted for publication. This goal has been enabled by an accelerated peer-review process, whereby a significant portion of submissions are declined editorially, allowing authors to ascertain quickly whether their work is likely to be accepted or to plan to submit elsewhere as quickly as possible.

3. Cancer has developed an accelerated peer-review process to shorten time to publication. Cancer has worked hard to improve its peer-review process so that it is collegial, efficient, and fair. All of our submissions that are sent out for peer-review are reviewed by at least two peer-reviewers, one Section Editor, and either an editorial board member or the Editor-in-Chief. Together, we focus on ensuring that the work receives the highest quality peer-review and ascertaining that the finest papers are chosen for publication. Please see below our improved statistics for time to first decision and time to final acceptance to online publication from 2010 through 2012. We have dramatically reduced our backlog of publications, and shortened our time to online publication.

4. Cancer is determined to disseminate our message to a broader audience. This will include the sharing of editor-selected highlighted papers approximately once per month, for free, particularly ones that are deemed to be of broad general interest to the cancer community, and an increase in the use of electronic media to highlight and discuss our papers. We already have had several free e-publications, ones that discuss highly topical subjects such as new advances in the immunology and immunotherapy of cancer, novel discoveries of toxicities to targeted therapies, and in an issue yet to be published, enhanced ways to measure quality of life during active anticancer treatment.
In conclusion, we thank you for your support of Cancer. We are fully committed to ensuring a timely review, as well as a shortened time to publication of your high quality work. This approach has enabled us to streamline the journal, resulting in a sleeker and smaller print journal, publishing only the highest impact work. We ask for your full support and request that you continue to submit only your very best quality work to Cancer.

Yours most sincerely,

Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, FACP
Professor and Chair of Hematology and Medical Oncology
Adjunct Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Otolaryngology
Roberto C. Goizueta Distinguished Chair in Translational Cancer Research
Deputy Director, Winship Cancer Institute

Editor-in-Chief, Cancer

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