WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, VMENKOV
The fight’s been ongoing for 10 years now, but it has finally come to this: the two editors-in-chief of the Croatian Medical Journal (CMJ) have resigned.
With an impact factor of 1.45—the highest for any Croatian journal—CMJ has grown into a highly respected publication in the 20 years since its launch. But after a decade of fighting with the journal’s management board, Editor-in-Chief Ana Marušic, co-editor-in-chief Ivan Damjanov of the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, and 18 of the journal's the journal’s 27 editorial board members quit last week, ScienceInsider reports.
The bold move came after a decade of battling with the journal’s management board, many of whom work at the University of Zagreb. In 2008, for example, the medical faculty in Zagreb accused Matko Marušic, Ana's husband, of defamation for discussing corruption at the university, and Ana Marušic was charged with plagiarism in a Croatian anatomy textbook.
Shortly thereafter, Matko Marušic stepped down as the journal's co-editor-in-chief, and Damjanov took over. But “the basic conflict between the management and editorial boards was never solved," Damjanov told ScienceInsider. The fights continued, including accusations by the board that Ana Marušic was never officially elected as editor-in-chief (soon disproven by the discovery of the election notes), and blatant obstruction of the journal's work—for example, delaying funds and membership renewals in databases such as CrossCheck—according to Damjanov.
The final straw came when the management board decided that it should elect editors-in-chief, instead of leaving the task to the journal’s editorial board. Though the management board assured that the changes would not necessarily be the end of the journal’s current staff, Matko Marušic wasn’t so sure. "We were not afraid but we didn't want to be replaced in such an ugly way," he said. "We left on our own accord at the peak of success."