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State of the Journal—2008

Wilcox, Allen J.

doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e31816bff51

It's good to take a look now and then at the old-fashioned ways for judging a journal's success. This report card starts with our Editorial Board. Six veteran members finished their 5-year terms in 2007. We thank Nilanjan Chatterjee, Glinda Cooper, Beate Ritz, Leslie Bernstein, Kyle Steenland, and Clare Weinberg for their yeoman's work. The Editors are delighted to welcome 6 new members to our Board: Olga Basso (NIEHS), Michelle Bell (Yale), Sonia Hernández-Diaz (Harvard), Marshall Joffe (University of Pennsylvania), Sverre Vedal (University of Washington), and Jacco Wallinga (RIVM, Netherlands).

We will need their help. We had 649 submissions in 2007, our 7th straight year of increasing submissions. In 2007 we accepted 20% of the original reports submitted to our journal. Our average time from acceptance to publication is 5–6 months.

2007 was the first year under our new team of editors, and they set new records for moving manuscripts briskly to a decision. We rejected 58% without review (most within 7 days). Among the 42% that went for review, median time from submission to first decision was 8 weeks, with 81% completed within 10 weeks. Our longest decision took 20 weeks, and a total of 7 (3% of all reviewed papers) went beyond our target limit of 3 months. The usual reason for delay was a referee who kept assuring us of a review but did not deliver. As you review papers, you can help us (and your colleagues) by doing unto others as you would have done to you.

On other fronts, the Editors continued our series on “The Changing Face of Epidemiology,” with a session at the 2007 SER meeting on the training of epidemiology students. (A series of commentaries from that symposium appeared in our March 2008 issue). In November 2007, we participated with over 200 other journals in focusing on issues of poverty, and presented the new STROBE guidelines for discussion.

These milestones are welcome—but in the end, how do we know if a journal is doing its job? I'm not sure we ever do. What the editors do know is our luck at being stewards of Epidemiology during this dynamic period of our profession. After 7 years, I still look forward to going to work. And now (to borrow a line from my esteemed predecessor), I hope you will excuse me while I go edit some manuscripts.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.