Content Requiring Approval Prior to Publication in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery

"Any paper that a) purports to reflect STS policy, b) is presented as STS governance body work product and/or c) is for STS National Database operational adoption requires approval by the STS Board of Directors or Executive Committee prior to publication in The Annals.”

This policy is in place to protect the Society and its members from publication of a paper that does not accurately represent the view or the position of the Society. The process is supposed to be transparent to authors and journal editors alike.  Ideally a paper that falls into one of the above 3 categories would be submitted by the author(s) first to the STS Board or Executive Committee directly, via the STS Executive Director or the STS Associate Executive Director. Usually such a paper comes to the attention of the President and Secretary via their weekly call with the Executive Director, and one or more STS leaders with the appropriate expertise are then asked to provide an expedited reading and opinion regarding the paper’s propriety for publication; once the opinion is obtained, the issue of acceptance is put to an electronic vote by the Executive Committee and, if approved, then passed on to the Annals Editor. In the past, this entire process has routinely been accomplished expeditiously, often in less than a week.

If the authors are not aware of this policy and instead submit their paper directly to the Editor or editorial staff for publication consideration, then the Society relies on them (the Editor or editorial staff) to recognize the need for initial approval and send it to senior STS staff so the above process can play out prior to Annals peer review.  The STS review process should not unduly delay the publication of the paper unless it is determined that major changes are required, in which case the paper will be returned directly to the authors with specific suggestions.

After the paper is approved by the Board or Executive Committee and submitted to the Annals for publication consideration, the peer review process itself might generate changes to the document. If so, then the revised document should be routed to the Executive Director or the STS Associate Executive Director for expedited Board or Executive Committee review.

There may be certain STS generated content (clinical practice guidelines, STS policy documents, etc.) for which any level of peer review beyond that already performed by STS governance would seem optional.  However, the Annals Editor still has the responsibility to review such papers, with the stipulation that any changes made be approved by the Board or Executive Committee prior to publication.

Approved: September 16, 2015 (STS Executive Committee)