|European Journal of Neurology|
A scientific society should have a journal. The American Academy of Neurology has the journal: Neurology, the international headache society, of which I had previously been president, had created is own journal Cephalalgia and so had the international association for the study of pain where I had chaired the publication committee and been a council member. While we considered this, the ENS decided to collaborate with the Springer journal J. Neurol. Apparently, they had no income from this journal but just got the right to publish news and to appoint members to the editorial board. I decided to do it differently. Based not least on my experience from the above mentioned journals Cephalalgia and Pain, I knew that societies should own their journals. Both of the above mentioned journals had been created from scratch and both were fully owned by the society that created them. Both of them were doing well and generated significant income to their societies. However, time was also a factor because of the competition from the ENS. Did we have the financial strength and the energy to create our own journal? Professor Gerstenbrand accepted my idea that we had to analyze these possibilities and delegated to me to do it. I contacted two journals, Acta Neurol Scand and European Neurology. I suggested to them and alliance whereby the EFNS should buy half of the shares of the journal for one euro but at the same time should obligate itself to support the journal in any way possible. The owners of these two established and financially profitable journals regarded my proposal almost as a joke and never went into serious negotiations. I then realised that we had to start our own journal from scratch. I wrote a proposal for such a journal and sent it to a few publishing houses. It turned out that several were willing to publish a journal on our behalf without owning the journal. The best offer came from a small publishing house called Rapid Communications of Oxford. It had already shown ability to publish the journal Neuroreport. It was my impression that this small company had a very fast publication time and also generally a fast decision-time. It would thus be an efficient and flexible partner for us. We signed a contract giving the company the right to publish the journal on our behalf for five years but with full ownership of the journal by the EFNS. Every five years we could ask for offers from other publishers and could change publisher if the original publisher was no longer competitive. The next problem was to find an able editor who was willing to take the risk with such a new journal and who was able to put in significant amounts of time and effort without payment. Professor Delwaide from Belgium was an experienced editor and we had several talks with him. However, it turned out that he was a bit sceptical about the possibilities for such a new journal. Instead we were very lucky to recruit Professor Francois Boller and professor Per Solberg Sørensen who agreed to jointly edit the new journal. I am sure that it is described elsewhere how these two editors were able to develop the journal at a time when most other scientific journals suffered from decreasing readership. The journal has become just what we hoped for, a broad, high quality journal for neurologists in all of Europe and with international participation.
By Jes Olesen
François Boller, France
Matti Hillbom, Finland
Anthony Schapira, United Kingdom
Per Soelberg Sørensen, Denmark
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