Interview with Dr. Allan Kirk, AJT Editor-in-Chief
How have you seen the journal evolve in recent years?
AJT has become much more responsive to changes in medical publishing. We’ve taken a more proactive stance instead of just waiting for articles to come in—seeking out content and interacting with more organizations. We’ve added a page to highlight CDC activities, Literature Watch (articles of interest to members that might not be in the journals they read), and the AJT Report, which covers political and social issues. This is a more interactive and proactive approach to transplant literature.
We’ve also become more service oriented, adding things that help readers and authors. Accepted Article Publication now means articles are online with a DOI number less than a week after acceptance. This process used to take 40-60 days, and now it takes 6 days. Our review turnaround has always been below 20 days for the whole history of the journal. The Transplant Peer Review Network also helps authors get published, and the journal’s presence on social media promotes articles and press releases, elevating the status of the AJT.
Why did AJT launch the Transplant Peer Review Network and what are the advantages to authors? Are authors using this resource?
The AJT is very selective. The Transplant Peer Review Network helps authors get published in other Wiley journals. Over 100 articles were published in affiliated journals last year, and about 50% of authors use it, which is well above the industry standard. It is probably the most successful network that exists.
What advice would you give junior faculty to help them publish?
The most common reason for not accepting an article into the AJT is that it’s not novel or that authors tried to make conclusions their data don’t support. I would advise them to make sure the data match the conclusions being drawn and focus on things that are novel as opposed to repetitious.
If ASTS members want to become involved in the journal, for instance as a reviewer, what is the best way to do so?
Reviewers are chosen by associate editors for each paper. They choose reviewers who are established in the field in a particular area and tend to go back to people who do good reviews quickly. The editors score each review on timeliness and quality, and every year we look at the scores and encourage them to use those who do well. I encourage anyone interested in being a reviewer to look at the associate editor list and choose those in their area of expertise, then contact them and express their interest in reviewing. Then do it quickly and well.
What role does social media play in the journal?
It is used mostly to draw readers to articles and promote authors so people know the good work published in AJT. Everything in AJT goes through peer review, even letters to the editor.
What is most rewarding about being Editor in Chief?
Interacting with the great people in transplantation. It’s a service job, trying to help people get published and move the field forward. Transplant is filled with very smart, well-meaning people, and it’s nice to watch them succeed.
What do you see as the future of peer-reviewed publications in general and specifically the AJT?
I think peer review will always have a place; I don’t think that print journals will always have a place. There are efficiencies in electronic distribution, so I believe the field will go toward electronic distribution. There has been some interest in crowdsourcing reviews and articles, and we are experimenting in AJT this year. We plan to put a topic out and ask the community to write, like a wiki. The world is more accepting of crowdsourced opinions, so science will move in that direction. But we must be cautious to preserve the scientific method. Facts must remain factual.
What else would you like to say to ASTS members?
It’s their journal. AST and ASTS receive financial support through the AJT, and the editorial board reports to the Joint Council. We are here for the organizations, not the other way around.