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This issue begins JGIM’s 22nd year and the half-way point of our 5-year tenure as Coeditors. This issue also ushers in a number of changes in JGIM, some dramatic, some subtle, and all representing progress in JGIM as a respected peer-reviewed journal. The most obvious and dramatic change is the cover. In consultation with our Deputy Editors and Editorial Board, we have chosen an eye-catching, radically redesigned cover that reflects the dynamic nature of JGIM and the field of general internal medicine.
JGIM’s new look is predicated on its changing publishers. After 11 very productive years with Blackwell Science, JGIM is now being published by Springer, the world’s second largest publisher of medicine, science, and technology journals and books. We are excited about our 5-year contract with Springer that brings both increased financial support for the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) and JGIM editorial office as well as enhanced access to Springer’s many features. Those which we feel will be particularly appealing to JGIM authors and readers include:
With this issue, JGIM has initiated new sections: categories of articles that focus on increasingly important aspects of general internal medicine and JGIM’s mission as a vehicle for advancing the field and its authors’ careers. These new sections include:
When we first applied to be Coeditors of JGIM, we proposed to increase the number of high-quality articles published—at no cost to JGIM or SGIM—by promoting externally funded supplements and special issues. These were to be either collections of papers from symposia and conferences or the results of targeted Calls for Papers. To maintain JGIM’s reputation for quality, all papers must pass peer-review as being worthy for publication in JGIM. This effort has been largely successful: as shown in the Table 1, in 2006, we published six supplements and special issues on wide-ranging topics. Two were symposium supplements, three were supplements or special issues resulting from Calls for Papers, and one was a series of papers generated under a grant from NIH. The quality of the papers published in the above supplements and special issues was high: for the period July 2005 through June 2006, two-thirds of 20 most frequently downloaded JGIM articles were published in supplements or special issues.9
For 2006, we are working on six supplements or special issues to be published in 2007 and 2008, also shown in the table. Again, the topics are diverse; one will be papers from a VA state-of-the-art conference on managing complexity in chronic care, and the other five are Calls for Papers. In November, JGIM will participate in an international theme issue to be published by a collaboration of more than 120 journals coordinated by the Council of Science Editors.10 Finally, in 2007, JGIM will publish a Call for Papers for the biennial Medical Education Special Issue, to be published in May of 2008.
In 2005, for the first time, JGIM received more than 1,000 (1,087) manuscripts, which included 912 regular articles (excluding editorials, letters to the editors, book/media reviews, and creative writing pieces). Figure 1 shows the growth in submissions and published articles over the past 9 years. As of this writing, submissions are up slightly for 2006. The acceptance rate for regular articles has held steady between 20 and 25%.
JGIM’s impact factor also continued to rise: 2.75 in 2002, 2.81 in 2003, 2.82 in 2004, and 3.01 in 2005. JGIM’s rank among the 110 journals in the General and Internal Medicine category dropped slightly from 15th in 2002 to 17th in 2006. However, counting citations is only one measure—and a suspect one at that11—of the quality of journal content. Perhaps, a more accurate measure in the digital age is the number of times full-text articles were downloaded from JGIM’s website, which more than doubled from 103,363 in 2003 to 228,443 in 2005.
JGIM operates under a distributed model of editorial decision making. That is, we recognize that general internal medicine is a broad and diverse specialty. So, we recruited a diverse and geographically dispersed group of Deputy Editors who assigned manuscripts in their areas of interest and expertise, manage the peer-review process, and decide (with consultation as needed from each other and the Coeditors) which manuscripts will be accepted for publication. In the past year, Jas Ahluwalia and David Stern stepped down, and we send them our grateful thanks for 2 years of dedicated service to JGIM. We have also added six deputy editors in 2006: Lori Bastian (Duke University), Tracie Collins (University of Minnesota), Jennifer Kogan (University of Pennsylvania), Thomas Sequist (Harvard University), Anderson Spickard (Vanderbilt University), Diane Wayne (Northwestern University), and Lisa Willett (University of Alabama-Birmingham). Please look at the names of the deputy editors and editorial board members listed on the masthead. Their selfless commitment of time and energy are what continue to make JGIM a treasure for the clinical, educational, and research communities and a joy for us to have the privilege to manage for SGIM.