American College of Clinical Pharmacy
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ACCP Report - April 2019

Pharmacotherapy's Increasing International Impact

Written by C. Lindsay DeVane, Pharm.D. Editor-in-Chief, Pharmacotherapy


Pharmacotherapy’s publication history includes its increasing reach and international impact over the years. Briefly, Pharmacotherapy was founded by Russell R. Miller in 1980 as an independent journal dedicated to the publication of research and reviews in the area of pharmacotherapy. The initial years of publication were guided by an interdisciplinary editorial board of pharmacists and physicians who were recognized as authorities in various areas of drug therapy. Two of the 40 editorial board members in 1988 were from outside the United States. Today, 10 of the editorial board members are internationally based.

In 1988, when Pharmacotherapy became the first official journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), the paid circulation was less than 2000 copies per month. However, the journal’s exposure quickly increased as it became a hybrid publication of reviews and research reports together with official documents approved by the ACCP Board of Regents. Pharmacotherapy also published related articles documenting advances in clinical pharmacy. Last year, the paid circulation increased to greater than 17,000 with the continued growth of the College membership. An important milestone was achieved in 2018 when the Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (JACCP) was initiated, with Jerry Bauman, Pharm.D., as editor-in-chief. JACCP focuses on the spectrum of clinical pharmacy practice. This event is a demarcation for Pharmacotherapy to reemphasize its initial content of human pharmacology and drug therapy.

Given Pharmacotherapy’s mission to disseminate pharmacotherapeutic scholarship that improves human health, some statistics on the journal’s performance and reach may be useful to ACCP Report readers. Since 2012, when publication of the journal was transferred to Wiley – one of the most prominent publishers of biomedical journals – access to the journal has increased remarkably. In 2018, over 6500 institutions worldwide had access to Pharmacotherapy through a publisher’s license or as part of consortia in multiple countries. In 2019, readership continues to grow by 10%–20% in many countries, including Egypt, India, and Japan and several European countries, to name a few. Not surprisingly, the increasing economic and social impact of China is mirrored by more than a 100% increase in the Chinese Pharmacotherapy readership since 2014.

Other metrics reflect increased use of the journal over time. The number of downloads of abstracts and full-text articles continues to increase. Pharmacotherapy averages over 40,000 unique visitors per month to its website, and full-text downloads are greater than 350,000 per year, with almost half from outside the United States.

The submission rate of new manuscripts also continues to climb, with over 700 manuscripts expected in 2019. This is an increase of over 30% from 2013. The level of interest in publishing in Pharmacotherapy requires the journal to be highly selective in its acceptance of manuscripts. The acceptance rate is currently 15%–20%. One benefit of an increased submission rate is the opportunity to publish articles that have greater impact on the field of pharmacotherapy and that are relevant to the journal’s readership. This outcome is reflected in the journal’s impact factor, which increased by 45% from 2.204 in 2013 to 3.196 in 2018.

Not only has the overall submission rate increased, but so has the submission of manuscripts from countries outside the United States. With the increasing availability of, and interest in, Pharmacotherapy, the authorship of submitted manuscripts is expected to reflect the worldwide research base in clinical pharmacology. In 2008, submissions to Pharmacotherapy originated from 33 countries outside the United States, representing 21% of new submissions. In 2013, this metric had risen to 31%. In 2018, 45% of new submissions originated from 45 countries outside the United States.

As the number of submissions to Pharmacotherapy has increased, so has the competition for space. Pharmacotherapy is not an insular journal. Preference is not given to U.S. or clinical pharmacist authors. The editors consider the scientific rigor and potential impact of submitted manuscripts to be the cardinal criteria in accepting manuscripts for publication. With the increasing number of manuscripts submitted from outside the United States, manuscripts are evaluated for global availability of the drugs being discussed and the potential impact of the pharmacotherapy issue being investigated. The editors of Pharmacotherapy recognize the increasing diversity of populations in nations around the world. This means that drug therapy issues once localized to one geographic region have become global issues. An example of the journal’s willingness to address global issues in pharmacotherapy is the recent publication of guidelines for optimizing use of the polymyxins in treating infectious disease (Pharmacotherapy 2019;39:10-39). This manuscript was developed by an international group of authorities and endorsed by international infectious disease/critical care organizations.

The editors of Pharmacotherapy believe that expanding the journal’s influence is both desirable and in the best interest for the drug therapy of all people, consistent with ACCP’s mission. The need to optimize drug therapy is an important global issue, and Pharmacotherapy’s reach and impact are rising to address this need.