During ch-Professor Piper's editorship the journal’s impact factor rose from 4.552 to 6.064. Downloads for full-text articles rocketed, from an average of 34,000 per month in 2003 to 114,000 per month in 2012. This was largely the result of Professor Piper’s commitment to modernising the journal’s online platform and making it more interesting for readers. His efforts have been supported by the publisher Oxford University Press.
In 2003 Professor Piper's editorial team introduced the online manuscript handling system, which is now standard for all journals. This decreased article reviewing time and helped deliver his “triple three promise”. Most manuscripts had three reviewers, three weeks until the first decision, and three working days from acceptance to online publication.
Dr Elizabeth A. Martinson, managing editor of Cardiovascular Research, said: “The publish-ahead-of-print model has been very popular with authors because they can see their manuscript published online after just three days and the paper is also searchable under PubMed and Google.”
Under Professor Piper’s editorship the journal has become more stringent on ethical issues. Manuscripts are checked for originality, which has revealed some instances of plagiarism and subsequent rejection of the article. An ethics editor was recruited to check all incoming manuscripts for the use of animals. The goal is to ensure that published papers clearly describe the details of all animal research so that scientists wishing to do similar studies can avoid needlessly repeating the same experiments.
Cardiovascular Research publishes several thematic Spotlight Issues per year which are published in print and online. They are devoted to a specific research topic and contain invited expert reviews and original articles.
Professor Piper made each Spotlight Issue more comprehensive by adding an online virtual Spotlight, which is a compilation of around 60 reviews and original research articles on the theme from past issues. He also created Review Focus Issues, a kind of mini-Spotlight for more specific areas of research.
The best images and schemes from figures in Cardiovascular Research are now posted to an image gallery that was established under Professor Piper’s tenure. Full-colour images can be downloaded at the click of a mouse into a PowerPoint file and used for teaching, talks, or seminars.
Professor Piper launched the Cardiovascular Research Symposium at the ESC Congress, which is well attended.
Professor Piper says: “The achievements during the past 10 years have been the result of a team effort from editorial staff in Barcelona, Spain, and Giessen, Germany, and particularly from my co-editor David Garcia-Dorado from Barcelona. We were pleased to serve the ESC in this function and grateful to all authors and reviewers who contributed to the journal and made it the Europe-based flagship of cardiovascular basic science.”
When Professor Piper became editor of Cardiovascular Research, he was director of the Institute of Physiology at Justus Liebig University in Giessen. In 2008 he became president of Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, Germany, but has remained active in cardiovascular science during the years since.