The year 2019 has been a good one for Spinal Cord. The number of submissions remains strong, and the quality of the papers we receive continues to improve. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all authors for submitting their work to us. We give all submissions careful consideration. We try to ensure that authors are told of within a couple of days of submission if their paper is not within the scope of the journal or not a high publication priority. This enables authors to move on quickly and find another home for their work.
We are very grateful to all our reviewers for the time and effort they put into careful consideration of submitted papers. This year alone we have used the services of more than 400 people to review papers, some of whom have contributed multiple reviews. The large number of people willing to do peer review ensures that papers are looked at by a variety of people with different perspectives and different strengths. We always try to secure reviewers with content expertise. We are very fortunate to have some very good statisticians and methodologists who are willing to regularly review for us. Their input helps all of us to improve the quality of our science and of our reporting. The combination of skills in the reviewers selected for each paper makes for strong reviews that, I hope, authors appreciate.
A very big thanks to the Associate Editors and the members of the Editorial Board. They all work extremely hard behind the scenes inviting peer reviewers, reviewing and editing papers, providing input on the direction of the journal, and feeding into initial decisions about the suitability of papers for the journal. I extend my very sincere thanks to them all, and I also thank them on behalf of the International Spinal Cord Society. I am particularly grateful to Prof. John Steeves who is stepping down as Associate Editor. Professor Steeves has provided many, many years of dedicated service to the journal. We are indebted to his in-depth understanding of scientific publication issues, science in general and the field of spinal cord injury in particular.
It is a pleasure to extend congratulations to the winners of the Best Paper and Readers’ Choice Awards for 2018.
Best Review paper: Dr Justine Baron and her colleagues for their paper: Self-management interventions for skin care in people with a spinal cord injury: part 1—a systematic review of intervention content and effectiveness .
Best Original Research paper: Dr Carsten Bach Baunsgaard and his co-authors for: Gait training after spinal cord injury: safety, feasibility and gait function following 8 weeks of training with the exoskeletons from Ekso Bionics .
Readers’ Choice Award, Review paper: Dr Kathleen Martin Ginis and her co-workers for: Evidence-based scientific exercise guidelines for adults with spinal cord injury: an update and a new guideline .
Readers’ Choice Award, Original Research paper: Dr Malka Itzkovich and the other members of the SCIM development group for: SCIM III (Spinal Cord Independence Measure version III): reliability of assessment by interview and comparison with assessment by observation .
The Best Papers are selected by the Associate Editors and the Editorial Board, while the Readers’ Choice winners are determined by the number of downloads of papers in the first six months following publication. (Papers in which the Associate Editors and I have major conflicts of interest are excluded). One paper deserves special mention because it was a very close favourite of the Editorial Board for winner of Best Paper. This was the original research by Jonviea Chamberlain and her colleagues in the paper: Differential survival after traumatic spinal cord injury: evidence from a multi-center longitudinal cohort study in Switzerland .
Congratulations to all the authors of these papers. One year after publication these contributions (and all other Spinal Cord papers) are free for anyone to access on the journal website.
My parting comment for 2019 is this: please continue to support the journal by submitting your best work to us, and by reading and sharing our papers with all in the spinal cord clinical, educational and research communities. Our ultimate goal is to improve the lives of people with spinal cord injury through high quality and trustworthy science. We pride ourselves on being a journal with an international and multidisciplinary perspective and reach.
Baron JS, Sullivan KJ, Swaine JM, Aspinall A, Jaglal S, Presseau J, et al. Self-management interventions for skin care in people with a spinal cord injury: part 1—a systematic review of intervention content and effectiveness. Spinal Cord. 2018;56:823–36.
Bach Baunsgaard C, Vig Nissen U, Katrin Brust A, Frotzler A, Ribeill C, Kalke Y-B, et al. Gait training after spinal cord injury: safety, feasibility and gait function following 8 weeks of training with the exoskeletons from Ekso Bionics. Spinal Cord. 2018;56:106–16.
Martin Ginis KA, van der Scheer JW, Latimer-Cheung AE, Barrow A, Bourne C, Carruthers P, et al. Evidence-based scientific exercise guidelines for adults with spinal cord injury: an update and a new guideline. Spinal Cord. 2018;56:308–21.
Itzkovich M, Shefler H, Front L, Gur-Pollack R, Elkayam K, Bluvshtein V, et al. SCIM III (Spinal Cord Independence Measure version III): reliability of assessment by interview and comparison with assessment by observation. Spinal Cord. 2017;56:46.
Chamberlain JD, Gmünder HP, Hug K, Jordan X, Moser A, Schubert M, et al. Differential survival after traumatic spinal cord injury: evidence from a multi-center longitudinal cohort study in Switzerland. Spinal Cord. 2018;56:920–930.
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Harvey, L.A. Looking back on 2019. Spinal Cord 57, 999–1000 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41393-019-0362-5