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AAA journal rockets to top of science education category

What began as a gleam in the eye of now co-editor Rick Drake and colleagues at the anatomy chairs' meeting in 2006, launched in 2008, and is now the highest ranking journal in science education? If you said Anatomical Sciences Education (ASE), you would be absolutely correct!

As AAA publisher Wiley-Blackwell put it in a recent press release, "Anatomical Sciences Education secured a stunning debut as the number 1 ranked journal in Education, Scientific Disciplines." After just three years of publication, ASE's first-time impact factor of 2.976 made it the most cited of the 32 journals in the science education category.

Despite the fact that journals such as Medical Education and Medical Teacher were already well established, AAA convinced Wiley in 2006 that there was an unfilled niche for a publication focusing specifically on education in the anatomical sciences. "While much pedagogical research transfers well from one scientific discipline to another," Drake notes, "the hands-on, interactive nature of anatomy instruction makes it unique enough to warrant its own publishing venue."

Thus, ASE was launched, in cooperation with the American Association of Clinical Anatomists (AACA) and the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS), to provide an international forum for the exchange of ideas, opinions, innovations, and research at all levels of education in the anatomical sciences, including gross anatomy, embryology, histology, and neuroscience.

Drake and Wojciech Pawlina, the heads of anatomy at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, respectively, were named co-editors. AAA was banking on their drawing power and, as Pawlina points out, "We were also counting on the fact that anatomy educators worldwide were looking for a home for their education research."

With this in mind, both Pawlina and Drake have put considerable effort into reaching colleagues outside North America. This global approach to anatomy education has paid off. Of the five top-cited articles in ASE, two are from Europe:

  • Medical Education in the Anatomical Sciences: The Winds of Change Continue to Blow (R. L. Drake et al. US)
  • The Anatomy of Anatomy: A Review for its Modernization (K. Sugand, et al., UK)
  • Evaluation of Computer-Aided Instruction in a Gross Anatomy Course: A Six-year Study (J.A. McNulty et al., US)
  • Web-Based Interactive 3D Visualization as a Tool for Improved Anatomy Learning (H. Petersson et al.,Sweden)
  • Frequency in Usage of FCAT-Approved Anatomical Terms by North American Anatomists (B.D. et al., US)


Contact: Andrea Pendleton
American Association of Anatomists

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