Developing a Strategic Roadmap for a Publishing Program in Transition

American College of Cardiology

Strategic and Operational Guidance

A change in leadership can be an opportunity for positive change.


JACC, the flagship journal of the American College of Cardiology, was in transition. Its revered editor in chief was preparing to step down after more than a decade at the helm, and its long-serving publisher was likewise readying for retirement. Before embarking on a global search for both a new editor and publisher, ACC’s board of trustees decided to pause and survey the competitive landscape for JACC, assess its position in the marketplace, and recalibrate its strategy. Their aim was to develop a new strategic roadmap that would not only chart the direction of JACC but would also inform the candidate search process.

What We Did

We worked with ACC over 4 intensive months to develop a new strategic roadmap for JACC. Our first step was to establish a baseline of knowledge regarding the current state of JACC and the JACC portfolio shared across both the task force. To accomplish this baseline, we undertook an analysis of the competitive landscape in which JACC operates and benchmarked the ACC’s publishing program against other first-tier, high-impact scholarly journals. We collected and compared indicators of journal quality for JACC and competitor journals, such as impact factor, net promoter score, and advertising share as well as measures of readership. We then looked at author satisfaction and reviewer satisfaction measures across comparable titles and reviewed JACC-specific publication and submission trends, usage statistics, journal finances, and ACC member satisfaction surveys.

Once we completed this comprehensive survey and subsequent analysis, we reviewed our findings with the ACC task force over several phone calls and an in-person meeting at Heart House in Washington, DC. As the task force became confident in its understanding of JACC’s current state, we began plotting its future course. Through a series of further discussions facilitated by C&E, the task force worked to determine a prioritized list of issues to be faced by JACC in the coming years.


Through C&E’s facilitation, the ACC taskforce aligned around a shared vision for the future of JACC and a shared understanding as to how to move toward this vision. With the unanimous and enthusiastic support of the task force, the strategic plan and its recommendations were rapidly approved by the ACC’s board of trustees and moved into action.

Clarke & Esposito performed the seemingly impossible task of aligning our task force made up of prominent cardiologists and staff around a shared set of priorities and a strategic roadmap to guide JACC’s future.

Kevin Fitzpatrick

Chief Innovation Officer