Bringing CNS Members Together to Make Children’s Lives Better


By Daniel J. Bonthius, MD, PhD, CNS Connections Editor | CNS Connections Editor | Winter 2024

E. Steve Roach, MD

QUESTION | What prompted the creation of the Annals of the Child Neurology Society?

Annals of Neurology is a terrific journal, and we should be proud of it. Annals’ articles are highly cited, and their impact factor is enviably high. On the other hand, because of its emphasis on basic science and its rigorous acceptance standards, Annals is not a reliable option for many CNS members who wish to publish. Annals of the Child Neurology Society is intended to fill that gap. We accept commentaries, clinically focused research articles, case series and case reports, and review articles. Basic science articles are welcome if they have clinical implications.

Another benefit is that the society actually owns ACNS even though it is published under contract by Wiley, the publisher of Annals of Neurology. Annals is owned by the American Neurological Association, and the other pediatric neurology journals are owned by publishing companies, so the CNS has little or no input into their operations. Ownership of ACNS allows the society to guide the journal’s editorial policies, approve its editorial staff and editorial board, and publish discipline-specific articles, such as the commentary last year about the child neurology training requirements (available at or articles derived from the award lectures at the annual meeting (see, for example,

QUESTION | Is the ACNS now the official journal of the CNS? Or does it share this position with the Annals of Neurology?

ACNS was created to be a companion clinical journal to Annals, not to replace it. So, both journals are official CNS journals. The American Neurological Association also created a clinical journal a few years ago (Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, or ACTN). We have a great relationship with the editors of Annals and ACTN. Together, the three journals form an “Annals family” of journals, and manuscripts pertaining to children that are not accepted by Annals are offered a transfer to ACNS. If the manuscript has been reviewed by Annals, we can make a quick publication decision based on the existing manuscript reviews. We anticipate that these Annals referrals will generate a substantial number of articles for ACNS once it is fully established.

QUESTION | What were the major obstacles to overcome in order to launch this new journal?

As the CNS Board considered starting the new journal, they first had to determine how ACNS would relate to Annals of Neurology. Once these questions were resolved and the decision to create the journal was finalized, the real work of actually building it began.

In the span of about five months, we selected an excellent group of associate editors with expertise in the major topics of the field and assembled an impressive editorial board. We began compiling the journal’s peer reviewer database, wrote detailed instructions for authors, built the manuscript submission site, and created content for the ACNS website. In parallel, we wrote the launch editorial and began receiving and editing manuscripts even before the submission site was completed. Aside from the opening editorial, the honor of the first real ACNS article goes to Harvey Sarnat (see

Several obstacles remain. Articles in new journals are not automatically indexed in PubMed. A journal must first publish 25 regular articles (excluding editorials, correspondence, etc.) and meet an array of journal production standards to be eligible for indexing by PubMed. We had satisfied these requirements by last August, but PubMed has a serious approval backlog, so we are now hoping for indexing approval in another month or two. Fortunately, once approved, all the published articles are retroactively indexed. Additionally, ACNS will not earn an impact factor for another couple of years. This delay is due solely to the way the score is calculated, so our current focus is publishing articles that will generate a decent initial impact factor.

Open-access journals have publication fees, which are a barrier for some authors. With the cratering of journal ad revenues in recent years, publication fees are likely to become widespread in the next several years. The payment models are already shifting, however, as many institutions now have agreements with major publishers to cover the fees for articles written by their faculty. In addition, the CNS supports the fees of its junior members, and Wiley offers fee waivers and discounts for individuals in resource-poor countries.

QUESTION | How many ACNS issues have been published so far?

Once an article is accepted and fully edited, it is promptly published on the ACNS website in its final form, aside from the pending page numbers. This process ensures very rapid publication, particularly when coupled with the journal’s expedited review option.

We periodically aggregate the recently published articles into a more traditional issue. It is then that each article is assigned page numbers to accompany its existing DOI link. The issues are accessed via a small journal icon on the ACNS website ( Initially, we are compiling quarterly issues, and the fifth issue will appear in late March. As the journal grows, we anticipate that the issues will increase to bimonthly and, eventually, to monthly.

QUESTION | Are there certain kinds of studies or papers that are an especially good fit for ACNS?

Like other journals, we seek quality manuscripts with novel findings and new insights. Review articles are also a great fit. ACNS is a forum for child neurologists, so thoughtful commentaries about training requirements or the effect of economic or cultural developments on the field are encouraged. We have a variety of submission categories, so everyone should be able to find an appropriate format for their work.

QUESTION | What are the advantages to child neurologists to publishing in ACNS?

Articles in open-access journals are available to anyone with internet access, even if they cannot afford a journal subscription. These articles are read more frequently and cited more often than articles in subscription-based journals. Discipline-specific commentaries may also have an easier time finding a home in ACNS than in other journals. The society benefits from having its own journal, so publishing in ACNS is also a good way to support the CNS.

The journal’s rapid review option can complete the peer review process and render an initial publication decision in ten days. If the authors speedily address any requested revisions, publication could occur in as few as four or five weeks after submission. This is a very useful option for authors wishing to quickly publish an article in preparation for a grant submission or a promotion nomination.

ACNS is also a great journal for trainees and novice writers. While our trainee mentoring program is not a back door to the publication of dreadful manuscripts, the program offers several perks designed to aid novice writers. First, each designated trainee manuscript is personally reviewed by an editor, then, in many instances, returned to the author with a list of preliminary suggestions to be addressed prior to releasing the manuscript to the regular reviewers. We try to select reviewers who have a reputation for making useful suggestions in a kindhearted way, even when they cannot recommend publication. Finally, we often allow individuals in the program additional revision opportunities, provided we can see a clear pathway to eventual publication. The CNS has budgeted a considerable annual sum to pay the publication fees for its junior members.

QUESTION | What can members of the CNS do to help foster the growth and strength of the ACNS?

The quality of the ACNS articles has been excellent, so read and cite the articles! Consider signing up via the website for automatic email notifications that include links to new articles. Please agree to serve as a manuscript peer reviewer when asked. Finding qualified and willing peer reviewers is the bane of most editors’ existence, so help us out. We have an informal process to guide inexperienced manuscript reviewers. Finally, you can submit your work to ACNS and encourage others to do so. If you are uncertain of the appropriateness of your manuscript, feel free to inquire (

QUESTION | Any final thoughts?

ACNS is progressing nicely, and it will succeed. But please be patient. Most successful journal launches take three to five years, and we are well ahead of that pace.

One of the most important and exciting new initiatives by the Child Neurology Society in recent years is the creation of the Annals of the Child Neurology Society (ACNS). ACNS published its first issue in March 2023. This is an interview with the ACNS founding Editor-in-Chief, Dr. E. Steve Roach. A past president of the Child Neurology Society, Dr. Roach is a Professor of Neurology at the University of Texas Dell Medical School.