Hepatology Communications Earns Its First Impact Factor: An Interview with Editor Gyongi Szabo

AASLD’s Open Access journal, Hepatology Communications, rose to new heights this year. The journal, under the leadership of Dr. Gyongyi Szabo, received its first Impact Factor of 5.073 in June, which places it in the top third of all journals in the Gastroenterology/Hepatology category.

Through the drive and tenacity of Dr. Szabo’s team, Hepatology Communications was also accepted for inclusion in MEDLINE in August. While the journal received full indexing in PubMed Central in December 2017, its presence in MEDLINE allows accepted manuscripts to be indexed at the time of initial publication.

Relishing in her team’s success, Dr. Szabo has offered to give some insight about her experience in leading this journal from its first issue to what she hopes to achieve in the future.

How does it feel to have led this journal from its first issue in 2017 to now receiving a first Impact Factor and being included in MEDLINE?   
Being the inaugural Editor in Chief of Hepatology Communications is a great honor and truly exciting. HepComm, as an Open Access and online only journal, presented new opportunities for the editorial team and AASLD to embrace and explore new ways of disseminating the best literature in hepatology.  I was fortunate to recruit an outstanding team of Associate Editors and an international Editorial Board. Working together, we developed the concept for Hepatology Communications that covers the entire spectrum of translational research from bench to bedside to bring new discoveries and studies to clinicians and researchers in all areas of liver diseases. Invited review articles, cascading high quality papers from Hepatology, creation of graphical abstracts and special collections were just a few initiatives that helped distinguish our journal from others.

Receiving the first Impact Factor and inclusion in MEDLINE are major milestones for the journal and our editorial team.  I am proud to achieve these milestones that in a growth cycle of a journal mark a level of “entering adulthood” and recognition within the community of publishing. Hepatology Communications will continue to serve our authors and readers and continue to thrive.

As Hepatology Communications approaches its 5th birthday in February, where do you see this publication five years from now? 
Hepatology Communications is still a rapidly developing journal that has yet to reach its full capacity. We aim to continue to earn the confidence of new authors and readers to increase submissions and serve a broad readership from researchers to clinicians. The initial Impact Factor indicates a solid recognition for the journal, and I expect that the number of submissions and impact of published papers will increase from all parts of the world.

We are committed to building this journal not only for AASLD members but also for the entire global liver community. The Open Access and online nature of our journal provides an invaluable platform for easy access that is attractive for all readers. I expect exponential growth in the recognition of the journal that will translate to an increased Impact Factor in years to come.

What tips do you have for the young investigators interested in having their work published?  
Publishing our work is a fundamental element of academic medicine and a key element of medical progress. Publishing work from early-stage investigators in Hepatology Communications is even more advantageous because the journal has high scientific standards and disseminates the accepted work rapidly to an unlimited audience. This a great way to gain attention and build reputation. In addition, the HepComm Associate Editors often work with authors and particularly young scientists to improve their manuscript and help reach standards for acceptance. Finally, for those interested in learning about editorship, HepComm initiated an Editorial Fellowship to train the next generation of effective reviewers and editors.

Is there anything else you wish to add or communicate to our members? 
I wanted to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the dedicated team of Associate Editors of Hepatology Communications including Kris Kowdley, Pranoti Mandrekar, Ariel Feldstein, Adam Mikolajczyk, Ekihiro Seki, Kymberly Watt, Norah Terrault, Natalie Torok, Michael Schilsky, Michael Curry, Hari Conjeevaram, and Steven Weinman. It has been a great privilege to work with experts who represent the broad variety of clinical and research in hepatology. Our Editorial Board and ad hoc reviewers committed endless hours providing critical reviews to help set the high scientific standards for the journal. The operations of HepComm could not be sustained without the fantastic team at the AASLD office supporting the journal behind the scenes. Finally, I want to thank all authors and reviewers who support Hepatology Communications and invite clinicians and researchers to submit their best publications to our journal!