Kidney News Online (KNO) recently spoke with Michael Allon, MD, the inaugural Editor-in-Chief for the newest journal from the American Society of Nephrology, Kidney360. As the open access, online only journal will begin accepting manuscripts in September 2019, KNO wanted to learn more about Dr. Allon and the ideas behind the new journal.
1. Thank you for agreeing to speak with us. Could you please start with a summary of your background?
I grew up in Tel Aviv, Israel, obtained my undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and completed my Internal Medicine Residency and Nephrology Fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta. After spending 3 years on the faculty of University of Oklahoma, I moved to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). My administrative roles at UAB include serving as the Associate Director for Clinical Affairs in the Division of Nephrology and the Medical Director of the Dialysis Program (about 700 patients). I have a longstanding research interest in dialysis, and in particular, in vascular access. I have been a principal investigator at UAB for several NIDDK-sponsored multi-center clinical studies, including HEMO, DAC, and HFM.
2. What first made you interested in applying for this role and starting a new journal?
I’ve always enjoyed writing manuscripts and reviewing them. As an Associate Editor for CJASN for 6 years, I came to appreciate the critical role that editors play in ensuring that the best possible science gets published. We were in the position to provide guidance to authors in improving the content and clarity of their manuscripts, and helping readers appreciate new scientific findings. Reading research manuscripts by other individuals truly broadened my horizons beyond the narrow area of my own research. Starting a new journal will be both a huge challenge and a tremendous opportunity. It will afford me the opportunity to shape the content and format of the journal, and appeal to a global audience of physicians, scientists, and lay people with a common interest in kidney disease.
3. Since becoming Editor-in-Chief, how are you preparing for the launch of the journal?
My first task has been to assemble an outstanding group of Deputy Editors and Associate Editors for the journal. Each of these individuals has a stellar record in terms of research and publication, and will be invaluable in providing critical oversight of submitted manuscripts in their areas of research expertise. In addition, I’m developing the entire spectrum of articles that will be published in Kidney360, including basic, translational, clinical, epidemiologic, health policy, and global health kidney research. The publications will include original investigations, reviews, editorials, commentaries, debates, and perspective pieces. We will be accepting manuscripts starting in September 2019, and the first issue will be published in January 2020.
4. Kidney360 will be ASN’s first open access, online only journal, could you explain what that means for readers and authors?
An online only journal will eliminate paper versions. Manuscripts will be available online as soon as they’ve been accepted for publication. In addition, because there is no added cost for online publication of color figures, authors will be able to maximize the use of color figures for their manuscripts, without incurring additional publication costs. An open access journal enables readers worldwide to download full-text manuscripts at no charge, without requiring society membership or affiliation with a medical library that has a subscription to the journal or access to inter-library loans. In other words, anyone in the world will have free access to the entire contents of Kidney360.
5. What are your goals for Kidney360 during your time as Editor-in-Chief?
My goal is that Kidney360 will become a well-regarded nephrology journal that readers across the world want to read and to which authors want to submit their manuscripts. I would also like to increase engagement between readers and authors and between readers and editors, by leveraging a broad range of social media tools.
6. Could you please discuss a couple of new features you are most excited about?
We will introduce a regular feature on “Global Perspectives”, which will provide detailed information about how various kidney conditions, including chronic kidney disease, dialysis, and transplantation are managed in different countries across the world. This feature will provide readers with an appreciation of the global diversity of health care models.
A second new feature will be “Basic science for the clinical nephrologist”. At present, many clinicians fail to appreciate the relevance of basic science research to the care of their patients with kidney disease. These papers will help clinicians understand how basic science knowledge can enhance the understanding of disease processes, facilitate their diagnosis, improve treatment strategies, and help to develop new pharmacologic therapies.