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The Journal Reports Progress, Notes Changes for Authors

      As we enter our 16th year of publication, The Journal of Pain continues to thrive as a prominent channel for venerable pain research. Our continued success is made possible through the thoughtful guidance of our Editorial Board members; hundreds of scientists who volunteer their time as reviewers, acknowledged at the back of this issue; the authors who submit their dedicated work to The Journal; and our readers.
      We continue to publish research that furthers our understanding of pain treatment and theory, systematic reviews that distill treatment and research conclusions, and commentaries that provoke discussion in the pain research community. Submissions are received from medical specialists, dentists, nurses, psychologists, and others who represent the American Pain Society's multidisciplinary perspective.
      The number of submissions to The Journal has continued to hold steady. We continue to maintain selectivity, aiming to publish only those manuscripts ranked in the top 20 to 25% by reviewers. The Journal's most recent Impact Factor, released in August, is 4.216. This represents a significant increase over the previous year. The broad range of readership interest is reflected in the top articles that were cited during the period used to calculate the Impact Factor: an article on the economic costs of pain in the United States; research about persistent pain after breast cancer treatment; an article about reciprocal relationships between pain and depression; and an article about pain risk factors for chronic temporomandibular disorder.
      In the past year, we also published the American Pain Society's Clinical Practice Guideline on Methadone Safety. The American Pain Society and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence collaborated with the Heart Rhythm Society to develop this clinical practice guideline. The standards are aimed at improving prescription practice of methadone for treatment of chronic pain and opioid addiction. We also saw a record number of poster abstracts submitted and published as part of a supplement for the 2014 APS Scientific Annual Meeting.
      Over the past year, The Journal's publisher, Elsevier, has piloted a number of programs in response to feedback from authors. Some of these include “Your Paper, Your Way,” whereby authors may submit a manuscript without adhering strictly to The Journal's style requirements for the initial review process; the presentation of research highlights on ScienceDirect, in which authors provide several points to summarize the work and let readers quickly decide whether the article is relevant to their searches; and optional Article Usage Alerts, in which quarterly email notifications provide corresponding authors with download data for their articles.
      Recent additions to The Journal's Editorial Board include Ephrem Fernandez, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX; Joel Katz, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Anna L. Kratz, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; Jordi Miró, Rovira i Virgili University, Catalonia, Spain; and Ivan Molton, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Recent departures from the board include Debra Gordon, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Francis Keefe, Duke University, Durham, NC; and Patricia McGrath, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
      I ask that authors take note of some important changes related to our submission process. The Journal has long required trial registry for industry-sponsored trials that involved devices or drugs provided by a manufacturer or pharmaceutical company. Trial registry helps to ensure that ethical obligations are met, helps to reduce bias, and helps put results in context. The public, patients, and the research literature all benefit. Gradually, the field has moved toward registry requirements for all randomized clinical trials, regardless of an intervention that involves a drug or device. The Journal will begin to require this, as well. Henceforth, we will only consider randomized clinical trials that were registered with an appropriate registration agency (such as clinicaltrials.gov) before the first subject was recruited.
      Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that are well constructed and precisely conducted offer the highest quality of evidence for the efficacy of pain treatment. Biases can result from interpretation and design issues that are not optimal. Accurate interpretation of RCTs depends on thorough examination of a study's aims, oversight, and scrutiny. We wish to improve transparency and reliability of RCTs, accordingly, and will now require authors to submit a CONSORT checklist item with new manuscripts, in addition to the CONSORT diagram, which is already required. New submissions that lack these items will be returned to authors and will not be entered into the review process. Authors will have the opportunity to add these items and resend their manuscripts to The Journal.
      Authors should upload a CONSORT checklist (available at http://www.consort-statement.org/) at the end of the manuscript. This offers a guideline for authors to compose articles with enhanced thoroughness and to help report on the importance of the research. The checklist will be provided to referees, assisting them in the review process. Authors who need a sample CONSORT checklist may contact the Editorial Office at [email protected]
      A sample CONSORT diagram can be obtained at http://www.consort-statement.org/ or from the Editorial Office ([email protected]), if needed. Such diagrams should be presented within newly submitted manuscripts as Figure 1.
      These steps will help authors report on the importance of their research and will also benefit referees during the review process. Implementation will begin this month, and we will make the transition as smooth as possible. As 2015 progresses, we anticipate that specific checklists will also become required for other types of submissions. Such requirements will be noted in our Guide for Authors (available at http://www.jpain.org/content/authorinfo), and the Editorial Office will work closely with authors to facilitate these changes.
      These measures will also help ensure The Journal's continued success and quality, moving forward. I reiterate my gratitude to our Editorial Board, authors, and readers for helping ensure The Journal as a distinguished publication that advances our understanding of pain and its treatment.