Too many cardiology journals! Bill Roberts, AJC editor, speaks out

William Roberts, the editor of The American Journal of Cardiology since shortly after William Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood, makes a bold statement in an online editor’s note (in press): “there are too many cardiovascular journals!”

Roberts mostly focuses on the problems facing medical journals like AJC (and AHJ) that are not owned by medical societies. The two major cardiology-related medical societies in the US launched 8 new journals in the past year, increasing the competition for readers, advertising, and manuscripts, notes Roberts. One positive corollary is the decline of controlled circulation publications, more commonly referred to as “throwaway” journals.

Roberts mentions that journals that aren’t owned by societies are free to publish more diverse forms of content. Roberts mentions his own interviews with prominent cardiologists and surgeons as an example. I’ve always been a huge fan of these interviews. Over the years Roberts has provided a fascinating glimpse into the minds of a great many of the most important figures in the modern era of cardiology, including Braunwald, Fuster, Topol, Califf, and many others. Two important lessons I’ve learned from these interviews: without exception all of these figures work harder than almost anyone else I know. They may be brilliant also, but the interviews provide strong support for the view that perspiration is way more important than inspiration in the long run. (I recently saw a t-shirt that said: “Hard work beats talent whenever talent takes a rest”.) The second lesson I learned: if you want to be a great cardiologist make sure you have dinner every night with your parents. For some reason Roberts just loves to ask this question.

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