Creative ways to celebrate journal and society anniversaries
September 18, 2023
By Stephen Wymbs
With journals and societies having a rich history, here’s how you can celebrate your milestones in style!
Having recently witnessed the anniversary celebrations of my mother and father in-law — Happy golden wedding anniversary, Pat and Richard! — it got me thinking about the many anniversaries we see among journals and societies. With the first academic society and journal dating back to the 1660s, we are lucky to work in an industry rich in history and tradition, with plenty of opportunities to celebrate various milestones. This feels especially relevant given the increasing focus on research integrity and the credibility of those that work in and support the research ecosystem.
Of course, this is not to say that longevity automatically equals integrity, but having a long and distinguished track record of leading and supporting the research community does bring with it a certain level of credibility and reassurance.
An anniversary is a great opportunity for a society and its journal to celebrate past achievements and reflect on the contributions they have made to the communities they serve. In doing so, societies can shine a spotlight on their discipline while encouraging renewed membership and engagement.
With many of you reaching an important milestone and potentially looking for inspiration, I thought it would be good to look at some of the recent ways journals and academic societies have chosen to celebrate their big day.
The Lancet’s 200-year anniversary
This year, The Lancet is celebrating its 200th year(opens in new tab/window)! Our colleagues started the year with an editorial(opens in new tab/window) that featured 10 calls to action to drive change in five critical areas of global health. In October, they will publish a special issue of The Lancet to mark its bicentennial.
The Lancet also invites readers to explore these issues by reading curated content collections, joining webinars, listening to podcast episodes, watching videos, and engaging with people working on these issues and most affected by them.
Other notable commemorations include a timeline(opens in new tab/window) that traces its path from the very first issue of The Lancet in 1823 to its bicentennial anniversary, with the opportunity to read some of the important papers published by The Lancet Group along the way.
Annals of Emergency Medicine 50-year anniversary
Annals of Emergency Medicine(opens in new tab/window), an official journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians(opens in new tab/window), marked its 50th anniversary in 2022 in a very visual way by focusing on how its journal cover has evolved(opens in new tab/window) over the decades since its inception. The journal launched as the Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians (JACEP) in 1972 before taking on its current title in 1980. From there, it underwent several more style changes before adopting its current cover in 2005.
In addition to featuring the cover history, Annals published a special editorial, or “then-and-now” piece, in every issue during the anniversary year. The “then-and-now” pieces (example(opens in new tab/window)] provide great insight into how far Annals, and the field more generally, has come since the journal was first launched.
Annals has become one of the 100 most respected journals in the world and receives 2 million downloads a year.
International Society of Nephrology 60-year anniversary
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN)(opens in new tab/window) in 2020, the Kidney International (KI)(opens in new tab/window) editorial team published a monthly series called KI Milestones in Nephrology(opens in new tab/window). This series acknowledged historical papers of importance to the nephrology community from the early days of KI. By presenting the papers from the perspective of the most recent advances in the field, the editors honored the investigators who molded this specialty.
As KI Editor-in-Chief Dr Pierre Ronco(opens in new tab/window) explained:
We chose to publish the KI Milestones in Nephrology to demonstrate to the young generation of nephrologists that shape the future that many current discoveries were built on breakthroughs published in Kidney International. ... This allows us to reflect on the fact that discoveries in science and medicine are the fruits of the continuous efforts of many over the years. We were proud that important breakthroughs that heavily contributed to the current knowledge and improvement of patients' care were published in Kidney International.
Institution of Chemical Engineers centenary
To celebrate the auspicious occasion of its centenary in 2022, the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)(opens in new tab/window) undertook several activities under the banner ChemEng Evolution(opens in new tab/window). IChemE chose to celebrate its profession and the members who have shaped it. Through personal accounts, thought-provoking articles and a program of webinars, they highlighted the impact of chemical engineering and the ideas and solutions being developed for a hopeful future.
As part of this, IChemE’s flagship journal Chemical Engineering Research and Design (ChERD)(opens in new tab/window) published a guest-edited special issue devoted to marking the centenary. Each of ChERDs Subject Area Topic Coordinators identified authoritative and forward-thinking experts in their respective fields to write about some of the advances they believed to be most important in their fields and — unusual for papers in a learned journal — to speculate on possible future developments. The result was a special issue with 11 peer reviewed papers covering a wide range of chemical engineering topics.
Interestingly, of the special issues published in ChERD in 2022, the Centenary one received the highest usage on ScienceDirect (average of 1,377 downloads per paper) compared to the other special issues or regular articles published that year (average of 474 downloads per paper).
We hope this gives you some food for thought. Wishing you and yours a happy anniversary when it arrives!