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A Milestone for Epidemiology

Rothman, Kenneth J. Editor; Cann, Cristina I. Associate Editor; Lang, Janet M. Associate Editor


Ten years ago, in January 1990, the first issue of Epidemiology was mailed to a small group of charter subscribers. At the editorial office, we wondered then if more manuscripts would actually show up in the mail and whether readers would be willing to give us a second look, much less renew their subscriptions and stick with us for the long run. The current issue is our 61 of continuous bimonthly publication. The journal has become, if not a fixture, at least a part of the epidemiologic landscape. We have grown steadily in readers and subscribers, in submissions, in pages published, and in impact factor.

Several notable developments have helped us fulfill our ambitions. The first was the good fortune to find Williams & Wilkins as a publishing partner 2 years after we started publishing. Epidemiology was founded by Epidemiology Resources Inc. (ERI) as part of that company’s mission to promote the highest standards of research in epidemiology. ERI activities toward that end included the New England Epidemiology Institute Summer Program, now nearing its 20 anniversary, the publication of epidemiologic monographs, and the conduct of epidemiologic research. Inasmuch as it was a small organization, ERI sought a business partner for the specialized work of subscription fulfillment, printing, and distribution of the journal. After an initial arrangement with another publisher, ERI chose Williams & Wilkins in 1991 to be its publishing partner for Epidemiology, with publication beginning in 1992, and with ERI retaining ownership. This partnership proved successful in giving the journal a professional appearance, first rate technical publishing support, and expert publishing guidance from Alma Wills, Deanna Gemmill, Susan O’Donnell, John Speaker, and Susan Steeble of Williams & Wilkins. We also had unfailing support from Nancy Dreyer, CEO of ERI, and other ERI and journal staff, including Deborah Hennessey, Tracy Becker, and Lisa Nasch.

The second important development in the journal’s history was another partnership, between Epidemiology and the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE). This society, which was founded around the same time as the journal, adopted the journal as its official publication in 1994. The journal has always aimed to be a general epidemiology journal, but the partnership with ISEE accentuated our interest in environmental topics. Epidemiology still maintains a broad readership and still encourages submissions in every niche of epidemiology, but we have a strong thread of environmental epidemiology running through the journal, a thread that interests not only our readers who are members of the ISEE but our broader constituency as well. The Society has grown along with the journal in stature, respect, and influence—another partnership of mutual benefit.

An additional achievement of the journal’s first 10 years was the establishment of the Epidemiology Prize, now endowed by Hoffmann-LaRoche Ltd. and known as the Roche Epidemiology Prize. The annual award of $3,000 honors the first author of a research, opinion, or review paper published in Epidemiology that is outstanding in terms of importance of the work, originality, clarity of thought, and excellence in writing.

Epidemiology now steps into its 2 decade with yet another development. Until now, Epidemiology has depended precariously on the continued health and commitment of the current editorial staff and the ongoing support of ERI. We are pleased to announce that Williams & Wilkins, which has recently merged with Lippincott-Raven, and is now known as Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, has recently purchased Epidemiology. The editorial office will continue to run as it has been, but now with the added comfort that the new owner is an experienced and successful publisher with a proprietary interest and the means to support and nurture the journal beyond the tenure of the current editors.

Epidemiology has succeeded only with the combined efforts and trust of the many authors, reviewers, and readers who have contributed their time, work, and subscription dollars to make Epidemiology what it is. For our part, we hope that it continues to flourish under its new owners for millennia to come. In the meantime, we have some manuscripts to read… .

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