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 Sörensen 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
Fransois Boller, France
I was present when EFNS was founded in 1991, but I did not suspect that I would be playing a role within it. I had been invited to make a presentation at the Paneuropean meeting in Vienna. There was a war in Irak (already!), the Paris airport was guarded like a fortress and very few people were flying. I was scheduled to stay in Vienna for only 2 days, but, despite the bitter cold, I prolonged my stay because the meeting was so interesting and also because there was a fabulous Mozart exhibit celebrating his bicentennial. I met Prof. Gerstenbrand and sometime later, I am not sure why, I sent him my CV. It just so happens that, at the time, Prof. Olesen and his colleagues were looking for an Editor of the Journal they had decided to launch. After some correspondence with Jes (probably by snail mail: e-mail was in its infancy then), I went to Copenhagen and had the pleasure of meeting Per Sorensen, future Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal. That is how it all started.
A managing Editor (Anne Petrov) was hired and we dedicated a small room next to my Paris office calling it, somehow pompously, "The Editorial Office of the European Journal of Neurology". And then we anxiously waited for submissions. I distinctly remember our excitement when the first manuscript was received. The author was, of all people, a pediatric neuro-ophtalmologist from London. I have no idea of how she had heard about the new Journal. Even though I was optimistic, I never anticipated that EFNS and the Journal would become so important in my life. It is a great honor to have been associated with both.
Matti Hillbom, Finnland
I became involved with the EFNS when I was Head of the Finnish Neurological Association. We tried to find members for the scientist panels. I became nominated as a member of the “Alcohol Panel” since then, I am a member of EFNS Scientist Panel on “Alcoholic Effects on the Central and Peripheral Nervous System” and Head of the panel 1994-2000. I was also a member of Editorial Board of EJoN 1994-2004 and am at present
Co-Editor-in-Chief of EJoN 2004-
Anthony Schapira, United Kingdom
Per Soelberg Sörensen, Denmark
I took over the chair of the Publication Committee in 2004 when I stepped down as co-editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Neurology. My first task was to find a replacement for me as co-editor-in-chief. We succeeded in recruiting professor Matti Hillbom and the perfect collaboration between Francois Boller and Matti Hillbom extended to December 2005 when Professor Boller left his position. Fortunately we found an excellent successor of Francois Boller, Professor Anthony Shapira, London, UK.
The publication committee has supported the editors in their wish to increase the volume of the European Journal of Neurology in order to get rid of the backlog of the accepted manuscripts waiting for publication.
This task was successfully accomplished by the end of 2007 and publication on the web was introduced in 2006. We established a common editorial office in Oulu, Finland and introduced electronic manuscript handling.
In 2006 EFNS had negotiations about collaboration with Nature Clinical Practice Neurology, a project that however came to nothing. In 2006 the European Handbook of Neurological Management was successfully launched.