SOARD Soaring!

New Rankings Put Journal Among
Top 10 Surgical Journals

Published in July 2013 Issue             

Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases (SOARD) is now ranked eighth out of 198 surgery journals in terms of research influence and impact, according to the most recent Journal Citation Reports® published by Thomson Reuters. With an Impact Factor of 4.121, it joins journals including Annals of Surgery, Endoscopy and Journal of the American College of Surgeons in the general surgery category top 10 and remains the highest ranked journal with a focus on bariatric and metabolic surgery.

Since 1975, Thomson Reuters has ranked major medical journals using what it calls an Impact Factor analysis. The Impact Factor helps evaluate a journal's impact in relation to others in the same field by measuring the frequency with which its articles have been cited in a particular year. The latest Impact Factors, released last month, take into account citations in 2012 to papers published in 2010 and 2011. An Impact Factor of 4.121 means that for the past two years, articles in SOARD have, on average, been cited in other journal articles over four times. SOARD debuted with an Impact Factor of 3.62 in 2009, the first year it was eligible for analysis. In 2011, it was 3.929.

SOARD started out strong and continues to get stronger,” said Andrew Berin, publishing director at Elsevier, SOARD’s publishing house and a publisher of 2,000 journals including The Lancet. “This is a great testament to the quality of the manuscripts submitted and the high standards set by the journal's editors and editorial board.”

The SOARD editorial board and editors include internationally prominent surgeons, internists, psychiatrists, and nutritional experts, among others. The editor-in-chief is Harvey Sugerman, MD, FACS, a past ASMBS president who has been at the helm of SOARD since its inception more than nine years ago.

“As the journal has grown, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of submissions, but what has always stayed the same is our commitment to only publishing the highest quality data and articles,” Dr. Sugerman said. “About half the manuscripts we get are not accepted for publication and of those that are accepted, it is very rare that our review board does not ask for some revision.”

From 2010 to 2011, SOARD increased its number of pages by 70 percent and in 2012, pages increased by another 50 percent. Another interesting trend noted by Dr. Sugerman is the substantial increase in submissions from outside the U.S., which in 2012 made up about half the submissions.

SOARD's Managing Editor, Angelica Kerr, believes that it is Dr. Sugerman’s “hands-on approach” and devotion to delivering the highest quality content to readers that has been a key contributor to the journal's growth and success.

“He is dedicated to maintaining substantive material. He pre-reviews articles and makes sure that the manuscripts submitted to SOARD are only first-rate works,” Kerr said, adding that Dr. Sugerman often provides feedback to authors, whether their manuscripts have been accepted or not, working to improve submissions and understanding of the journal’s direction and principles.

SOARD has made a concerted effort to highlight research that is relevant and intriguing to readers who are invested in advancing surgical interventions for obesity and its related diseases. “We’ve published numerous studies showing the value of a variety of procedures and surgical techniques. Likely one of the most recent and notable is laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, which has led to greater adoption of the procedure based on high quality evidence,” Dr. Sugerman said.

In fact, “Sleeve gastrectomy and type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review,” published in SOARD in Volume Six, Issue Six in 2010 was the journal's third most cited article in 2012. The review article found laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy was effective in resolving or improving Type 2 diabetes markers in most patients and that the procedure “might play an important role as a metabolic therapy for patients with type 2 DM.”

On the topic of diabetes, SOARD has also played a key role in contributing to the mounting body of evidence for metabolic and bariatric surgery as a treatment, specifically in establishing a greater understanding for how gastric bypass works to reduce or resolve the disease and factors that cause recurrence after surgery.

The most cited study from SOARD was “Baseline data from American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery-designated bariatric surgery centers of excellence using the bariatric outcomes longitudinal database,” the first study to report data from BOLD, which revealed important characteristics and trends about patients undergoing bariatric surgery across the U.S. The study showed a significant trend toward laparoscopic techniques, a contributor to a “significant decrease in mortality” from 2008 to 2010 (0.14% vs. 0.36%). The most common bariatric surgical procedure being performed at the time was some type of gastric bypass, particularly Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass (RYGB), followed by some form of gastric banding. This study was cited 167 times.

SOARD is not resting on its laurels. It continues to innovate with mobile apps that enable viewing of SOARD articles on smart phones or tablets and the journal accepts electronic supplementary material to support and enhance published research. Authors are invited to submit applications such as video, animation sequences, high-resolution images, background datasets, and sound clips, which if accepted are published online alongside the electronic version of the corresponding article. Elsevier Publishing Director, Andrew Berin, noted SOARD was the first journal to publish audio slides, which give readers the ability to hear about published data or articles in the author’s own voice. Conversely, such materials also give authors the opportunity to explain, in plain, everyday language, why their data and research matters.

SOARD's website also features a video of the month. This month’s video is “Stapler malfunctions during laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy; an unusual but correctable complication.”

Looking ahead, as SOARD enters its 10th year of publication, Dr. Sugerman has his sights set on continuing to improve the journal's efficiency in reviewing and publishing articles. He maintains that reviewers adhere to a strict schedule for providing feedback and approval of submissions, but he still plans to enact supplementary strategies to ensure submissions are promptly examined.

“We are proud of our journal. It serves an important purpose in creating greater understanding of our specialty and the science behind it, not only for surgeons, but for the larger medical community as well,” said Jaime Ponce, MD, ASMBS President. “SOARD has become the go-to publication for high caliber metabolic, bariatric and obesity research and its reputation as a high quality publication only continues to grow.”