Over the past year, there have been a number of changes in the dissemination of content and how readers access content in print, and increasingly online. The workflow of article from submission to publication is an electronic one, and the ease of communication between authors, editors and publisher continues to produce efficiency gains. For example, in AIDS, the average time to first decision to the author has declined over a number of years and is now less than 25 days for full Original Papers and Concise Communications, and below 20 days for Research Letters and Correspondence. Although over 80% of first decisions on an article are made within 7 weeks, we continue to strive to improve the processing of articles as speed of decision and publication is as important to us as it is to the authors. Here we outline just some of the issues we have considered and introduced to help the process of submissions, publication and use of content. We also include the introduction of an earlier online publication of individual articles.
We have long held the view that authors are those who make a substantial contribution to articles and are in line with that defined by the International Committee of Clinical Medical Journal Editors (http://www.icmje.org/ethical_1author.html). The appearance of a long list of authors on a article are in our opinion sometimes not justified and we have in place a limit on authors to discourage lengthy lists and encourage assessment of whether a person contributed substantially to an article or not. Acknowledging that our previous limit was perhaps too limited, we have reviewed this decision and will now consider up to 12 authors for each article, and in rare instances, a maximum of 15 will be permitted if well justified.
Publish ahead of print
The publication of journals online has revolutionized the dissemination of content through increased availability and accessibility, including linking to articles through various indexing services. Authors increasingly want to see their article published early online as much as in print. We have responded to this by introducing an earlier point after acceptance when an article will appear online and be indexed. Journal articles now appear online ahead of print shortly after acceptance (1–2 weeks), rather than after we have received the author's corrections to their proofs, which is typically around 5–6 weeks. The layout of articles is very similar to typeset articles, but original figures are used. Before inclusion in an issue, articles are copyedited as usual, and figures and illustrations redrawn as necessary. Authors subsequently receive a proof and their corrections are included in the version when published in an issue.
The journal site includes a number of features such as collections of articles by topic, and others that will help drive reader's interest in high-impact articles and increase traffic to articles online. A new paper citation feature has been introduced, which includes information on how many times an article has been cited and the citing article(s), and a tab area on the homepage (www.aidsonline.com) that displays a list of the Journal's highest impact articles. Additional features are available if an individual registers on the site (available to subscribers and nonsubscribers). For example, authors can request alerts to be sent when their article is cited.
Conflicts of interest
Recent events in academic and scholarly publishing have sometimes called into question the integrity of published articles due to perceived or real conflicts of interest on the part of the authors. Many professional journals have responded by requiring authors to report potential conflicts of interest when submitting their manuscript for consideration and publishing these statements in accepted articles. Although the implementation of these disclosure policies has brought much needed transparency to the various relationships among authors, institutions, industry, and grant providers, there has not been a consistent process for the collection and publication of conflict of interest information.
In response to the need to standardize the collection and dissemination of conflict interest information, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) developed an electronic uniform disclosure form in October 2009. ICMJE member journals piloted the form, and received feedback from authors, editors and other interested parties. A revised form was developed based on this feedback, and the ICMJE is now encouraging journals to adopt the uniform disclosure form.
We applaud the effort of the ICMJE and support the implementation of the new form. Completion of this form is now required for every author listed on all manuscripts submitted to the journal. The form is readily available on the manuscript submission page as part of our copyright transfer agreement (www.editorialmanager.com/aids/) and can be completed and submitted electronically. We request any issues to be identified that may arise in completing the document.
The ICMJE will continue to monitor feedback from the user community, as shall we. The group plans to release revised versions of the form as needed. Please contact the Editorial Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any suggestions or comments you may have concerning the content or implementation of this new conflict of interest disclosure form. The ICMJE hopes that standardization ‘will alleviate the confusion that prevails when multiple journals use different reporting formats and ease the reporting burden on the members of the biomedical research community so they can pursue the research that will improve the care that we can deliver to our patients’ .
Jay A. Levy (Editor-in-Chief)
John P. Phair
Editors of AIDS
Philip J. Daly
Publisher, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Conflicts of interest: none disclosed.
1. Drazen JM, de Leeuw PW, Laine C, Mulrow C, DeAngelis CD, Frizelle FA, et al
. Toward more uniform conflict disclosures: the updated ICMJE conflict of interest reporting form. JAMA 2010; 304:212–213.