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Annals 25th anniversary.

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Annals 25th Anniversary
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Annals,
the Editor has solicited a message from our Founding Editor, Fred Plum, University Professor, Weill Medical College of Cornell University . . .
Many tales can be told about Annals of Neurology as it
completes its silver anniversary. By 1977, when Annals
was founded, clinical neurology was increasingly gaining new understandings of the mechanisms that cause
neurological symptoms and the fundamental, underlying abnormalities that generated their expressions. Indeed, in many areas neuroscience had not only begun
to find the causes of neurological illness, it was rapidly
discovering effective methods to prevent or treat them.
Emphasizing this fact, between 1976 and 2000, six
Nobel prizes were directly related to neuroscience and
neurology (years: 1976, 1979, 1981, 1986, 1996,
2000). Advances in scientific clinical neurology have
rapidly replaced eponymic disease titles, both by employing abnormal descriptions and by arranging logical
classifications related to scientific abnormalities. Brain
imaging has become an increasingly effective technique
for identifying and monitoring the course of a number
of neurological illnesses. Such imaging has also progressively amplified the dynamic, functional geography of
the brain’s expressions of consciousness, as well as the
brain functional patterns that identify many of its
pharmacological, genetic and cell-molecular systems.
All of these and more contribute to the new effective
qualities of clinical neuroscience.
The Annals is an outgrowth of the Archives of Neurology which is owned by the American Medical Association (AMA). First called the Archives of Neurology
and Psychiatry, the journal dates back well into the first
quarter of this past past century. Growth and evolution
of the two disciplines by 1959 resulted in the development of two independent Archives journals; one for
Neurology, the other for Psychiatry.
During the years surrounding 1976 the AMA was
engaged in functionally limited dependable but
strongly conservative attitudes of a great many of the
Country’s doctors. Specialty training became more
prevalent, insurance companies reduced doctor’s directpatient payments, and medical costs steadily rose. At
the time, the AMA’s resources provided only minimal
funds to its specialty journals. Indeed at one moment,
apparently because of their limited funds, it briefly
considered to cut costs by reducing circulation of the
Archives of Neurology to four times per year.
In a final effort by the ANA to produce a joint partnership between it and the AMA, Dr. Sam Trufant,
President of ANA, 1976 –77, with me as the Archives
editor beside him, courageously argued face to face
with the AMA’s senior executives. But there was no
bargaining to be had. We returned to the ANA Board
and sorrowfully recommended that the ANA break its
association with the Archives of Neurology. Already, the
Editor and most of the Archives Review Board had
promised to resign from the latter’s Board and it forthwith initiated a search for a trustworthy and enthusiastic publisher. Little, Brown of Boston welcomed Annals of Neurology with a strong package constructed by
Fred Belleveau, the President of the Company. Both he
and Nancy H. Megley, the firm’s Manager of Medical
Journals, were remarkably helpful and, at times, catalytic in finding suggestions for success.
The rest is history. Nevertheless, although the Board
was enthusiastic, some members of the ANA had
doubts about whether or not the Annals had the capacity to survive or drive the ANA into bankruptcy.
Fortunately, the Child Neurology Society (CNS)
agreed to join us as founders of the to-be Annals. In
fact, on a very hot August day, Bruce Berg, first President of the CNS called me at home and enthusiastically announced that the CNS would share the parentage of this new neurological child. It was the straw that
strengthened the camel’s back.
Major Goals of the Annals, The First Two
Paragraphs, 1997
(1) Page 1, Vol 1, January 1997: The first two paragraphs indicate the journal’s major goals. They follow:
“The debut of a scientific periodical calls for a word
of explanation to readers on the reasons for the new
publication and its intended goals. Over the past
year, the American Neurological Association reached
the decision to begin publication of a journal of its
own to gain the potential for innovation and improvement afforded by total editorial control. An expanded issue size, permitting rapid publication of
articles, and a fresh new design with superior illustration quality are among the first results of this independence. Since the decision was reached, the
Child Neurology Society has accepted the Association’s invitation to cosponsor Annals of Neurology
as its official journal.
Annals of Neurology is directed to physicians and
scientists interested in the human nervous and neuromuscular systems and their diseases. The journal
© 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
will have a traditional format, seeking eminence by
attention to content and detail. The coverage is intended to encompass articles dealing with all aspects
of normal and abnormal human neurological function or clarifying human neurobiology through experimental investigations on lower animals or simpler neural systems. Studies of animal diseases will
appear that bear on mechanisms or treatment of human disorders. Clinical and research work in developmental neurology and communications in clinical
pediatric neurology will be featured. From time to
time we intend to publish articles on medico-legal
problems, legislative issues, and educational matters
that command wide interest.”
Along the Years
(1) Annals accepted the above aims and has steadily
pursued their goals. A few other corresponding
rewards came that we hadn’t expected so
(2) One is that by the end of the first year, Annals
of Neurology supplied the Treasury of the American Neurological Association with substantially
more money than was the cost of starting the
Journal. Indeed, it has been said that its success
makes a strong base of the ANA’s non-profit
(3) One way of evaluating the quality of Annals of
Neurology comes from knowing its impact factor. ISI’s Science Citation Index, “impact factor,” of a journal reflects the number of research
or observational reports that another scientific
or reviewal sources cite in their bibliography.
Strong journals have high impact numbers. For
example, Nature’s impact is the highest of all. It
follows that in clinical neurology, the higher the
impact number, the more attention the journals’ contents receive. The first impact factor
for Annals, expressed in 1979, covered a normal
Annals of Neurology
Vol 50
No 1
July 2001
two year passage of time and rated a 2.087 level
compared to the journal Brain’s factor of 2.618.
Other neurological journals rated lower than
these. By 1984, Annals of Neurology squeaked
past Brain with a factor of 3.544 compared to
Brain’s 3.517. The latest ratings of these leading
two, are 8.32 for Annals and 7.374 for Brain,
under John Newsom Davis’s strong editorship.
(4) All members of the Founding Editorial Board
remain in good health 25 years after. Three,
Arthur K. Asbury, Robert A. Fishman and currently, Richard T. Johnson have served as Editors and have made the Annals stronger every
year. The original members have presented signatures and are listed below.
(5) Dick Johnson wanted to know why I chose the
color blue that encases the substance of Annals
of Neurology. It’s copied from the blue that
adorned an inexpensive pottery brought back as
ballast in the 1830 –54 Boston Clipper ships
that sailed the “China trade.” At least for a time
150 –175 years ago, Boston restaurants served
their inexpensive foods as “blue plate specials.”
Now, the china is a moderately expensive antique and my pleasure for working with the Annals looked forward for that kind of growth and
value. Why did I like it? Because Little, Brown
was so generously pleasant with whom to work,
the color seemed a good-luck token of another
attractive Boston trait. Alas, that partnership
collapsed, but I still like the value of the novelty
of the cover and the similar wonderful progress
of the Annals.
Many thanks
Fred Plum
May 17, 2001
New York, New York
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