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In January 2003 the editorship of Sexually Transmitted Infections changed and it was with some trepidation that we took over as editors.1 Under the editorship of Mohsen Shahmanesh, the journal had gone from strength to strength and had increased its impact factor, which now stands at 2.181 (fig 1). STI is currently the second most successful speciality journal, lying closely behind the American speciality publication. The readership of STI and indeed the genitourinary medicine community as a whole are indebted to Mohsen and the previous editorial team for producing an outstanding journal.
With our arrival as editors we appointed a new editorial board. Members of the editorial board were selected to represent a range of disciplines, expertise, and geographical distribution, and are asked to advise the editors on major issues of direction of the journal. We were conscious in selecting members of the board to include approximately half from outside of the UK, to reflect our increasingly international readership, and to have a fair gender balance. We also decided to invite a broad group of associate editors to reflect the broad range of interests of our readers. Davis Lewis became assistant editor in mid-2003.
The number of submissions to STI increased in 2003, with a total of 378 submissions for the period January to December 2003. This represents an increase of 28% compared with the same period in 2002. We have also seen an increase in submissions from outside the UK, especially from Europe, north America and Canada, and Asia. Currently over 55% of submissions come from outside the UK (box 1).
Box 1 Geographical distribution of submissions
|Europe (excluding UK)||15.7|
|USA and Canada||13.3|
The average time to the first decision on a paper is 35.5 days, having fallen from 53.3 days in 2002. The increased number of submissions means that our acceptance rate is now 35.2%; in 2002 the acceptance rate was 58.2%.
This year we have published several important research papers and also the national guideline for the management of suspected sexually transmitted infections in children and young people.2 A review series on tropical medicine, edited by David Lewis, also began.3 We have continued the brief encounters section at the front of each issue of the journal. This section highlights the key messages of some of the papers in the journal. The STI website was renamed (www.stijournal.com). It has proved to be an increasingly popular site and our 10 most frequently read articles online between January and the end of December 2003 had a total of over 10 500 accesses as either full text HTML, PDF versions, or abstracts.2–11
The journal has been redesigned with a new cover, and we have introduced groupings for the contents page to help guide readers through the journal. We continue to commission major review articles, and are starting a number of series’ including a regular epidemiological update. We are now encouraging submissions of case reports where these have a clear educational message for readers. Some of these will be presented with MCQs either in the journal or on the website. In recognition of the major contribution of nurses and health advisers we are planning a forum within STI for discussion of practice issues and reports.
The editors would like to thank all the authors who have submitted their papers for review in the journal. We would also like to thank the many reviewers who have given up their time to assess papers for STI and by so doing have contributed to the success of the journal (a full list of reviewers for 2003 is available on the STI website at http://sti.bmjjournals.com/misc/reviewers.shtml). We would like to thank the assistant editor, David Lewis, for his invaluable help, the associate editors for their vital role in selecting the best papers for publication, and the editorial board for their support of the journal. Michelle Dimler, our editorial assistant, has done a fantastic job coping superbly, not just with running the journal, but also with the quirks and foibles of the new editors. Finally we would like to thank Janet O’Flaherty and Sue King, the managing editors during 2003, and Glen Hughes and Melissa Dodd, the technical editors, for helping us produce such a high quality journal.
Our first year as editors has involved a steep learning curve. We have, at various times, been bemused, excited, and challenged. We look forward to 2004 and beyond, with the opportunity to ensure that STI continues to be successful journal with an international readership.
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