Susan Plaeger Talks about the History and Impact of Clinical and Vaccine Immunology
Journal Interview, June 2011
The journal Clinical and Vaccine Immunology has been named a Rising Star among journals in the field of Immunology in Essential Science IndicatorsSM from Thomson Reuters several times in a row. Currently, the journal's record in this field includes 1,240 papers cited a total of 6,192 times from January 1, 2001 to February 28, 2011.
Founded in 1994, Clinical and Vaccine Immunology is an online publication of the American Society for Microbiology. Its current Impact Factor in Journal Citation Reports® is 2.373.
In this interview, ScienceWatch.com talks with Editor-in-Chief Dr. Susan F. Plaeger about the journal's history and citation achievements.
Did you expect Clinical and Vaccine Immunology to become highly cited, or is this surprising to you?
We had hoped this would happen when we expanded the scope in 2005 and changed the name of the journal in 2006. But we knew it would be a slow climb, as we were, in a sense, starting from scratch in making ourselves known to the scientific community and building an impact factor. So the high number of citations is very gratifying.
How would you account for the high citation rate of CVI?
Expanding our scope to cover vaccine research and persuading a world-class vaccines expert (Dr. Stanley Plotkin) to be our Vaccine section Editor were key factors, I think. Our ASM Academy of Microbiology members believed there to be a gap in high-quality publications focused on vaccine research and that, as the primary microbiology professional organization in the world, ASM should be covering this essential area of research in their journals portfolio.
I believe it also was important to maintain the focus on the area for which we had become known and sought out for publications, i.e., clinical laboratory immunology. Coverage of clinical immunology unrelated to microbes is an area not covered by any other ASM journal and was cited as a need by our members, so we fill a niche there as well. This latter includes veterinary immunology, which is also an area where manuscript submissions are growing.
Would you give us a brief history of the journal?
"The field of clinical immunology is rapidly growing, and vaccines continue to be a critical area of development in both the human and veterinary fields."
The journal is one of the newer members of the ASM journals family, having been "born" as Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology in 1994. Dr. Steven Douglas was the Editor-in-Chief for the first decade of CDLI. When Steve asked me to be EIC in 2004 (I had been on the Editorial Board from 1995-2000 and an Editor from 2001-2003), I began to brainstorm with him and the Editors on ways to increase the impact factor and visibility of the journal.
My feeling was that our niche in clinical laboratory immunology was a good one but not broad enough to serve many ASM members or the immunology community in general. Surveys to ASM Immunology Division members and discussions with the ASM Academy of Microbiology members confirmed that a broader range of immunology as well as coverage of vaccinology was needed and welcomed. The ASM Publications Board was very supportive, so we expanded the scope in 2005 and changed the name to Clinical and Vaccine Immunology in 2006 (the search for a new name is a story in itself!).
What historical factors have contributed to the success of CVI?
The field of clinical immunology is rapidly growing, and vaccines continue to be a critical area of development in both the human and veterinary fields. The ASM journals seek to respond to emerging areas of microbiology as well as the needs of its members for high-quality publications for their research findings. We have tried to keep pace with those needs with CVI.
Have there been specific developments in the fields served by CVI that may have contributed?
Emerging infectious diseases, such as SARS or avian influenza, and microbial bioterrorism threats, such as anthrax, have spurred the need for understanding both the host immune response to these agents and developing new vaccines against them. Also, the application of molecular techniques in both clinical laboratory (i.e., diagnostic) immunology and to vaccine development has contributed to the growth of both fields.
What, in your view, is this journal's main significance or contribution in the field of Immunology?
I think CVI is a journal focused on important scientific areas for ASM members that maintains the high scientific and editorial standards of the ASM journals and the society itself.
How do you see your field(s) evolving in the next few years?
I believe we will see much more computational and systems biology research approaches, so it will be a great advantage to have the capabilities and capacity of online publication for large datasets.
What role do you see for your journal?
We should continue to serve ASM member needs by filling a niche in clinical immunology and vaccine research and maintaining our edge in clinical laboratory immunology. If our 43,000-plus members see us as a valuable part of the ASM journals family, we are fulfilling our role.
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology
Susan F. Plaeger, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief
American Society for Microbiology, publishers
KEYWORDS: CLINICAL LABORATORY IMMUNOLOGY, VACCINE RESEARCH, JOURNAL FOCUS, SCOPE IMPACT FACTOR, AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR MICROBIOLOGY, EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES, SARS, AVIAN INFLUENZA, MICROBIAL BIOTERRORISM THREATS, ANTHRAX, HOST IMMUNE RESPONSE, VACCINE DEVELOPMENT, COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY, SYSTEMS BIOLOGY, ONLINE PUBLICATION, NICHE.