Responding to readers’ and authors’ needs
Future changes to the BJO
As editors, keeping a pace with changes in publishing, pleasing both readers and authors without creating chaos or anarchy is challenging. We continue to respond to the voices of both readers and authors alike and will continue as such to change the journal format to maintain and fulfil its mission of supplying high quality information in its most relevant and readable form. We acknowledge that the readers and authors may have different expectations of the journal. Firstly, readers wish to be assisted in their continual professional development and revalidation and require easy access to information that is readable and succinct. Secondly, there is a need to assist researchers with information pertinent to their individual needs and, thirdly, of course, we need to give the authors the medium to present their findings and views in the most expeditious manner and which will sell to the widest audience.
As such, the BJO is committed, along with the rest of the BMJ Publishing Group, to provide a medium to satisfy all. Although the BJO has seen a dramatic increase in submissions, now over 1300 articles a year, with an acceptance rate of 34%, going online has enabled our mean time to decisions on papers to be cut drastically to three weeks. We aim to please authors further within the next 12 months as we launch the capability to publish manuscripts as soon as they are accepted—on the website—followed in print by the technically edited version a few months later. This will provide immediate dissemination of up to date work to all. In addition, this will hopefully create fruitful correspondence, which will be all web based; you will be asked to submit your correspondence (Mailbox) directly to eBJO. We will also increase page provision in the print journal to ensure that print publication time is around four months from acceptance.
What about the readers? The BMJ has reiterated from its studies that readers do not read traditional long full original articles, and the need for such articles to be so long has been questioned. We wish to encourage articles that are written succinctly and, in time, we will be providing a modified “Instructions to authors” that will have link sites to assist prospective authors less experienced in writing. The articles will be divided into Clinical science and Laboratory science as is the case at present and, within each section, there will be the opportunity to submit either extended or scientific reports. There will be strict word counts of 3000 and 1500 words, respectively, and we will be encouraging authors where appropriate to submit their work in the shorter version. Letters to the editor will remain but we will be focusing our attention, because of priority and space, on case series, genetic reports, and clinicopathological reports. Perspectives will also remain but again will be limited strictly to 4000 words. We still encourage and solicit editorials, commentaries, and world views and maintain our commitment towards globalisation, publishing work from, and provision of information to all.