“A journal is more than its impact factor”

26 July 2018 By Loek Keizer

Last month, it was announced that the EAU’s flagship scientific journal, European Urology had a 2017 impact factor of 17,581, an all-time high. This makes European Urology the most highly-ranked urology journal in the world, by far. We spoke to its Editor-in-Chief since 2013, Prof. James Catto (Sheffield, GB) about this accomplishment, the challenges the journal faces and his experiences over the past five years.

“A journal is more than its impact factor,” Prof. Catto explains. “An impact factor is a measure of your importance in the field. But there are other measures, like website traffic, the number of unique visitors, of downloads, of libraries that subscribe, and the readership. Naturally, the impact factor is also a reflection of the quality of the papers that are submitted and published.”

In all of these domains, Catto thinks European Urology is doing well, leading to a lot of downloads, and a strong global brand. “We are the highest scoring in our field, but I think we also do very well against competitors in bigger fields, like general oncology, or surgery as a whole. Impact factor is not everything to me, but it’s an important measure to how the journal is moving forward.”

“As our platform has become more digital, we’ve managed to measure how we’ve become a more global journal. More than half of our traffic comes from outside of Europe, including North America, China, India and Australia.”

Reflecting on the period of his editorship, Catto sees some trends: “We’ve become much more global, more digital, much faster. We are faster to publish and we try to foresee and encourage progress in urological care. That’s because we have a young and dynamic editorial team.”

All of this is also driven by a shift in contents: “We’ve brought in a statistical review, all the papers are now reviewed statistically. But more importantly, we try to target papers that we perceive as high quality and try to make them even better in the review process.”

Prof. Catto is pleased by the rise in scientific quality of the journal in recent years, “but it would have been impossible without the work of my predecessor, Francesco Montorsi. We’re very much building on the foundations that he laid down.”

Read more of this interview in the next edition of European Urology Today.

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