The Journal of Pain Enters a New Era

Now that The Journal of Pain has been revived, many of you may not know why publication was interrupted or how it became the flagship journal of a new organization, the United States Association for the Study of Pain (USASP). It’s an interesting chapter in the history of The Journal that included a bankruptcy, organizing anew, begging and bidding, and negotiating a new publishing contract.

In the summer of 2019, members of the American Pain Society (APS) voted to declare bankruptcy on the recommendation of the Board in the face of mounting lawsuits in which the APS was included in litigation associated with the opioid epidemic. In the context of declining revenues and membership, the APS did not have the resources to withstand the legal challenges that were anticipated to continue for multiple years. Accordingly, the APS declared bankruptcy, was dissolved, and was required to sell its assets, including The Journal of Pain. Under court-assigned legal supervision, an auction sale was set for The Journal, with bids due 9 December 2019.

After dissolution of the APS, a group of US-based pain researchers began discussions in late summer 2019 about forming a new pain research-focused organization. Because The Journal was widely respected and highly valued, discussions included bidding for and hopefully acquiring The Journal as a central component of a new organization that did not yet exist. To that end, a GoFundMe fundraising campaign was initiated, raising nearly $30,000! While a great start, we were pretty sure this would not be enough, so personal appeals also were made (this was only part of the begging) for donations to help acquire The Journal.

Despite considerable anxiety and guessing about who might bid for The Journal and what amount would be needed to win the bid, in the end only two bids that met requirements set by the court were received – ours and one other. Michael Gold, representing the new organization in formation, and Jerry Gebhart met in Chicago at 11:00 a.m. on 12 December in an attorney’s office for the auction; the other bidder represented another organization and participated via telephone. (N.B. If you ever find yourself in such an auction and must travel some distance to attend in person, consider asking whether you may participate via telephone). The opening bid was $75,000 by the other organization; their “cannot go any higher” bid was $135,000. The final, winning bid, which was required to be a minimum increment of $10,000 above the previous bid, went to us at $145,000. “Happy” and “relieved” do not adequately describe how we felt. A celebratory lunch at a nearby restaurant was progressively dampened as we discussed the future with accumulating anxieties about how we were going to raise the necessary funds by the end of the year, barely two weeks away. In addition, the sale was not yet a done deal. The court had to approve the wording in the final settlement, which took three visits in late December to the Federal Courthouse, multiple consultations with friends, family (including Michael’s attorney sister Julia) and even a few lawyers who were not family or friends, before the Judge’s approval was granted.

During this same period, Michael Gold, Jennifer Haythornthwaite, and Jessica Merlin (who was elected to serve on the three-person board by the other members of the USASP Organizing Committee) were busy applying for tax-exempt status for the new, not-for-profit organization, the USASP. Their expedited application (read more lawyers) was approved and the ownership of The Journal was transferred to the USASP. In a subsequent editorial, more about the USASP will be presented.

Even after overcoming these obstacles, there remained the matter of finding a publisher for The Journal. The existing contract with Elsevier was negated when the APS was dissolved. The submission portal for manuscripts was closed, and there remained a backlog of accepted manuscripts waiting to be published. Although the journal’s editorial office and staff were prepared to resume their activities, in the absence of a publisher, the office was unmoored and essentially inactive. The process of acquiring a publisher is straight-forward, but time consuming. It includes publicly announcing and advertising the availability of The Journal, receiving and reviewing bids from interested publishers, selecting the “best” bid, and finally negotiating a contract. All of this usually takes many months. Under pressure of time, because The Journal had not been published for several months already, this process was condensed into the shortest time possible. We received three proposals to publish The Journal and had also worked through the details of going the open-access route through a University-based publisher. In the end, a new contract was established in May 2020 with Elsevier and the first issue of The Journal was recently published with Mark Jensen’s “welcome back” editorial.

That The Journal is now the property of and the flagship journal of the USASP is a minor miracle. This was not accomplished easily and would not have been accomplished at all without the hard work and generosity of many individuals. Those who made this possible are gratefully acknowledged below and include a number of anonymous donors.

List of Contributors

Contributions greater than $50,000:

 United States Cancer Pain Relief Committee

$10,000 – 20,000:

 Valda and G.F. Gebhart, PhD

 Megan and Michael Gold, PhD

 Jennifer Haythornthwaite, PhD

 Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, and the Painless Research  Foundation

 The Mayday Fund

$5,000 – $9,999

 Regina Anderson, MD, and James N. Campbell, MD

 Viravan Maixner, MS, and William Maixner, DDS, PhD

$1000 – $4,999

 Jean and Kenneth L. Casey, MD

 C. Richard Chapman, PhD

 Charles Clelland, PhD

 Maryann and Ronald Dubner, DDS, PhD

 Donna Hammond, PhD

 Charles Helmick, MD

 Barbara and Charles E. Inturrisi, PhD

 Mark P. Jensen, PhD

 Erin Krebs, MD, MPH

 Sean Mackey, MD, PhD

 Christine Miaskowski, RN, PhD

 Ajay Wasan, MD, MSc

 Judith N. Paice, RN, PhD

 David A. Williams, PhD

$500 – $999

 Kenneth Hargreaves, DDS, PhD

 Michael Iadarola, PhD

 Robert Kerns, PhD

 John Loeser, MD

 John Markham, MD

 Linda Sorkin, PhD

 Kimberly T. Sibille, PhD

 David Tauben, MD

 Vivianne Tawfik, MD, PhD

 George Wilcox, PhD

$100 – $499

 Rita Agarwal, MD

 Sue Aicher, PhD

 Kathy Albers, PhD

 Seena Ajit, PhD

 A. Vania Apkarian, PhD

 Michael Ashburn, MD, MPH, MBA

 Lauren Atlas, PhD

 Jane C. Ballantyne, MD

 Gordon Barr, PhD

 Emily Bartley, PhD

 Allan Basbaum, PhD

 Kyle Baumbauer, PhD

 Timothy Brennan, MD, PhD

 Mary Catherine Bushnell, PhD

 C. Patrick Carroll, MD

 Robert Coghill, PhD

 Andrew Collins, MD

 Meaghan Creed, PhD

 Steve Davidson, PhD

 Brian Davis, PhD

 Megan Detloff, PhD

 Pat Dougherty, PhD

 Robert Edwards, PhD

 Carolyn Fairbanks, PhD

 Fadel Zeidan, PhD

 Elizabeth Felix, PhD

 Patrick Finan, PhD

 Michael Geisser, PhD

 Louis Gendron, PhD

 Robert Gereau, PhD

 Elizabeth Goldsmith, MD, MS

 Fred Goldstein, PhD

 Nicholas Gregory, MD, PhD

 Neels Groenewald, MB, ChB

 Daniel Harper, PhD

 Steven Harte, PhD

 Kevin Hellman, PhD

 Chris Herndon, PharmD

 Keela Herr, RN, PhD

 Cheryl Hillery, MD

 Marta Illueca, MD

 Mary Janevic, MPH, PhD

 Michael Jankowski, PhD

 Susmita Kashikar-Zuck, PhD

 Joel Katz, PhD

 Benedict Kolber, PhD

 Martin Koltzenburg, MD, PhD

 Jeffrey Lackner, PsyD

 Helen Lai, PhD

 Emily Law, PhD

 Laura Frey Law, MPT, MS, PhD

 Benjamin Lee, Md

 Marco Loggia, PhD

 Katherine Martucci, PhD

 Jonathan Mayer, PhD

 Stacy McAllister, PhD

 Daniela Menichella, MD

 Estephan Moana-Filho, DDS, MS, PhD

 Lorimer Moseley, PhD

 Vitaly Napadow, PhD

 Timothy J. Ness, MD, PhD

 Richard Ohrbach, DDS, PhD

 Akiko Okifuji, PhD

 Tonya Palermo, PhD

 Donald Penzien, PhD

 Jeffrey Petruska, PhD

 Mark Pitcher, PhD

 Frank Porreca, PhD

 Rajan Radhakrishnan, MSc, PhD

 Diana Rae, MSN, RN-BC

 Ke Ren, PhD

 Matthias Ringkamp, MD, PhD

 Martin Schmelz, MD

 William Schmidt, PhD

 Andrei Sdrulla, MD, PhD

 David Seminowicz, PhD

 Laura Simons, PhD

 Laura Stone, PhD

 Andrew Strassman, PhD

 Gregory Terman, MD, PhD

 Richard Traub, PhD

 Catherine Underwood, MBA, CEA

 Yuiry Usachev, PhD

 Johan Vlaeyen, PhD

 See Wan Tham, MB, BS

 Steven Weisman, MB

 Yi Ye, PhD

 Paul Zeltzer, MD

Contributions less than $100

 Miroslav Backonja, MD

 Vanessa Benavent, DDS, MSD

 Staja Booker, RN, PhD

 Meagan Callahan, MSN, RN-BC

 Marta Čeko, PhD

 Julie Eisele

 Michelle Failla, PhD

 Perry Fine, MD

 Liang Han, PhD

 Anna Kratz, PhD

 Janelle Letzen, PhD

 Junnan Li, PhD

 Vani Mathur, PhD

 Aaron Mickle, PhD

 Megan Miller, PhD

 Karen Moss, RN, PhD

 Jamie Moy, PhD

 Hadas Nahman-Averbuch, PhD

 Marie O’Brien, RN

 Luis Queme, MD, PhD

 Barbara Rakel, RN, PhD

 Teri Reyburn-Orne, NP

 Lynn Rusy, MD

 Kate Sadler, PhD

 Tim Salomons, PhD

 David Schwartz, DC

 Elizabeth Seng, PhD

 Maria Silveira, MD, MPH

 Natasha Sosanya, PhD

 Roland Staal, MD

 Scott Strassels, PharmD, PhD

 Elia Valentini, PhD

 Elsa H. Wuhrman, DNP, FNP

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