As editor of Annals, Dr. Sox shared responsibility for publishing two of Dr. Auerbach’s articles.
“I know something about how Dr. Auerbach thinks about science and about his own personal scientific standards—wanting to get it right, writing it in a way that people know exactly what happened, and interpreting the results in a way that will stand up over time, rather than trying to read too much into the results,” Dr. Sox says. “We also talked with some of the candidates about their strategy for trying to make the journal better, and I thought he showed himself to be very analytic and strategic in his thinking. I’m confident he’s going to move the journal forward.”
Dr. Auerbach believes his experience as a deputy editor and his mentoring role at UCSF, which requires him to provide constructive feedback on investigators’ papers, has prepared him for his new role.
“I have a good sense for how to approach the review process with the goal of getting a paper to the point where it can be accepted into a journal and, if not, have it leave the review process much better than it was when it arrived,” he says.
His research background also complements his new role, he says.
“Research is a way to take care of patients I never see and to disseminate things that are broadly applicable … that other people can look at and use to improve their healthcare delivery,” he says. “I see the journal as doing many of the same things.”
Strategies for Success
Dr. Auerbach, who has worked closely with Dr. Williams in recent months to ensure a smooth transition, says he does not intend to make substantial changes to the journal’s focus. But he is formulating strategies to make it more valuable and relevant to the hospitalists it serves.
Increasing the journal’s Impact Factor—currently 1.951, ranking it 40th out of 151 publications in its cohort—is one way to increase JHM ’s value, making it a destination for the highest-quality research, Dr. Auerbach says.
He also intends to solicit as many scholarly works as possible, employing “a marketing strategy and recruitment strategy all in one” to make sure JHM is on researchers’ short list of publications in which they consider submitting their work.
I’ve learned never to underestimate him. It’s an amazing characteristic, and it’s one that is very useful doing something like running a journal.
—Robert Wachter, MD, MHM, professor, associate chair, Department of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco, chief, division of hospital medicine, chief, medical service, UCSF Medical Center, former SHM president
He wants to take advantage of the growing number of hospitalists who are doing research and expand the journal’s reach beyond its traditional peer groups. “Are there intensive-care doctors, pulmonologists, cardiologists, or infectious-disease doctors who are doing work with hospitalists—or work that would align with hospital medicine—that could be published in JHM?” Dr. Auerbach asks, rhetorically.
He intends to empower members of his editorial team to serve as JHM ambassadors who promote the journal at professional meetings and encourage investigators who are pursuing interesting projects to submit their findings.
Dr. Auerbach expects to devise other content strategies in consultation with members of his editorial team. Certain aspects of content, such as case reports and scholarly reviews of conundrums in HM cases, could be enhanced, he says. Specific sections of the journal could be developed for effectiveness research or implementation research.
He also says he wants the journal to explore new content areas so that it appeals to readers who aren’t interested in randomized controlled trials.