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From Nottingham to Nijmegen
  1. MICHAEL DOHERTY
  1. Academic Rheumatology, Clinical Sciences Building, City Hospital, Nottingham NG5 1PB

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    The next 12 months will see important changes in theAnnals. From 1 July the editorial office moved to Nijmegen under the editorship of Leo van de Putte, and from January 2000 the Annals will become the official journal of EULAR though still retaining its half century old title Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Leo is exceptionally well qualified for the position of editor. He is an internationally respected researcher, he is the immediate past president of EULAR, and has been an active member of theAnnals editorial board for seven years. Adoption of the journal by EULAR is also appropriate. TheAnnals is arguably the top ranking rheumatology journal in Europe and has the expert backup of the BMJ editorial and publishing teams to ensure quality and professionalism. The journal already has a cosmopolitan international editorial board and two of three associate editors from mainland Europe. Furthermore the Annals has no national rheumatology society affiliation. Under the leadership of Leo van de Putte and his new board it is envisaged that the Annalswill continue to grow in stature to become one of the leading rheumatology journals for original research and continuing specialist education.

    As retiring editor I would like to pay tribute to the board members, associate editors, editorial assistant, technical editors, commissioning and marketing assistants, and editorial staff of the BMJ who have served the Annals so well during the period 1992–99. Throughout this time we have recognised our responsibilities both to submitting authors (who expect efficient, courteous and professional processing of their work) and to subscribers (who wish to read high quality, relevant original papers, topical editorials and stimulating educational series). It is a large team and all must take credit for the innovations and changes that have been made to enhance the quality of the Annals. Of particular importance are the following:

    • improved efficiency and quality of peer review and the service to submitting authors

    • consistently rapid acceptance to publication time

    • annual publication of specific editorial objectives and performance (Annals remains the only rheumatology journal to do this)

    • appointment of an active editorial board with trainee representation and the youngest known mean age for any rheumatology journal

    • appointment of a regular statistical adviser

    • clear guidelines regarding editorial concern and policy on redundant publication1

    • founder member of the Rheumatology Journal Editors Group to agree uniform systems of referencing2 and acronyms3 in rheumatology journals, and the adoption of the CONSORT system4 for reporting randomised controlled trials

    • removal of a case report section (for reasons see Doherty5)

    • introduction of the educational seriesLesson of the Month

    • introduction of Case studies in Diagnostic Imaging

    • use of educational “fillers” such asRheumatological Stamp andUnusual and Memorable

    • utilisation of BMJ guidelines in determining supplement selection, and the incorporation of peer reviewed supplements within monthly issues rather than as separate publications

    • reduced, and subsequently free, trainee subscription rates

    • introduction of attractive format, including a back cover index and a varying front cover illustration to individualise issues

    • availability of Annals on the internet, combined with innovative search potential6

    • abolition of commercial advertising from the journal (from January 1998 for the period of the current editorial board)

    • attainment of the status of the official journal of EULAR

    Further development and continuing evolution of theAnnals is clearly necessary, especially as the journal takes on an even more major role in Continuing Medical Educational (CME) for European rheumatologists.

    Finally, on behalf of the whole editorial board I would like to thank the expert reviewers who have given so much of their time to ensure the quality of the peer review process. We are, of course, equally indebted to all our contributors, without whom the journal simply would not exist. The whole board and the BMJ editorial staff wish Leo van de Putte and the new team every success in taking theAnnals with pride into the next millennium.

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