Balancing stability and change is an important key to maintaining the vitality of any product and organization. As we start a new year, I want to highlight some of the steps that The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery has implemented to allow more orthopaedic information to be available to our readers worldwide while we preserve the high quality of information that has traditionally been the hallmark of The Journal.
The number of manuscripts submitted to The Journal in 2011 was nearly 2400, an increase of approximately 500 over the past two years. With our acceptance rate hovering at just below 20% overall, this increase has added approximately 100 additional manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in JBJS.
To manage the increase in excellent manuscripts, a number of steps have been taken to publish more articles and to trim the time from submission to publication.
To allow for the publication of more articles, we are asking for shorter and more succinct articles. The word limit on initial submission is now 3500 words, instead of the prior limit of 4000 words.
Selected original scientific articles will be published online, with a listing in the Table of Contents in the print version of The Journal. For the past year, the Instructions for Authors has included a statement that the Editor-in-Chief may decide whether accepted articles will be published in the print and/or online version of The Journal, and this online publication of original scientific articles has occurred in the last few issues. The online publication of original scientific articles will continue and will increase in number throughout 2012.
As the number of submitted meta-analyses and systematic literature reviews has increased substantially over the past two years, newly established criteria now must be met prior to peer review. Meta-analyses generally will not be accepted for review without a minimum number of randomized controlled trials to comprise the data set. Similarly, systematic literature reviews generally will not be accepted for review if another systematic review on the same topic has been published in the peer-reviewed literature during the previous five years.
With the increase in the number of submissions to The Journal, there has been a welcome expansion of the number of submissions from outside the United States, a reflection of the increasing global interaction of orthopaedic surgeons. In 2010, 56% of the submissions came from outside the United States. As a result of this international influence, an International Editorial Board of six prominent orthopaedic surgeons from regions throughout the world has been established, with planned expansion of this International Editorial Board to twelve members by 2013. These international editors will represent JBJS in their region, will advise us on how we can best serve the orthopaedic information needs in their area, and will identify high-quality research for potential submission to The Journal. This is an important and overdue step in reflecting the global reach now enjoyed by JBJS and is an interaction that is critical for us.
Other steps to increase the accessibility of high-quality orthopaedic information recently have been taken. In 2011, two online publications, JBJS Case Connector and JBJS Essential Surgical Techniques, were established. Both publications continue to expand and to become more robust. In addition, five subspecialty newsletters have been established in the areas of Sports, Trauma, Adult Hip, Adult Knee, and Shoulder, with more newsletters planned in other subspecialties. The combinations of these new online educational resources are grouped into Corridors for each subspecialty and are becoming increasingly popular. If you are not aware of these online publications, visit www.jbjs.org to learn more.
Providing high-quality and trusted orthopaedic information will always be the goal of JBJS and for me. Access to this information is also a key step to help educate the global orthopaedic community, and the recent changes recounted above are designed to help accomplish this goal in multiple ways. Our authors are the backbone of The Journal. We will continually strive to provide fair and reasoned peer review of submissions and are committed to expediting the review of manuscripts and the publication of those that are accepted. And for our readers, your desire to stay up-to-date on the latest and best orthopaedic research reports is the link that connects the authors and The Journal to individual patient care. We will continue to evolve as new educational opportunities arise so that JBJS will increasingly be considered a preferred source for much of your orthopaedic information.