Author Affiliations: Dr Rosenberg is Chair of the JAMA Editor Search Committee, editor of Archives of Neurology, and Zale Distinguished Chair in Neurology and professor of neurology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; and Dr Anderson is executive vice president and CEO of the American Medical Association, Chicago, Ill.
The Journal of the American
Medical Association has enjoyed an illustrious 116-year history as
a peer-reviewed medical journal dedicated to the science and art of
medicine and the betterment of the public health.
When George D. Lundberg, MD, editor of JAMA, was removed from
his position on January 15, 1999, there was concern within the medical
and scientific publishing communities that his dismissal was a
challenge to JAMA's editorial freedom and integrity.
To reaffirm the American Medical Association's (AMA's)
commitment to the integrity of THE JOURNAL, to
maintain JAMA's editorial independence, to protect THE
JOURNAL's integrity, and to assist in selecting a new
editor,1 the AMA assembled a search committee and announced
its members on January 27, 1999. The committee is chaired by Roger N.
Rosenberg, MD, Zale Distinguished Chair in Neurology and professor of
neurology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in
Dallas and editor of the Archives of Neurology.
Other distinguished members of the search committee are:
Floyd E. Bloom, MD, editor-in-chief of Science and chair of
the Department of Neuropharmacology, Scripps Research Institute;
William H. Danforth, MD, chair of the Board of Trustees, Washington
University; Bernadine Healy, MD, former head of the National Institutes
of Health and dean of the College of Medicine and Public Health, The
Ohio State University; Michael M. E. Johns, MD, executive vice
president for Health Affairs, Emory University; Joseph B. Martin,
MD, PhD, dean of the Harvard Faculty of Medicine; Edmund D.
Pellegrino, MD, director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics,
Georgetown University Medical Center; Drummond Rennie, MD,
JAMA Deputy Editor (West) and adjunct professor of medicine,
University of California at San Francisco; and John E. Wennberg, MD,
MPH, director of the Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences and
Peggy Y. Thomson Professor for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences,
Dartmouth Medical School.
The selection of the search committee was a collaborative effort
involving senior members of the JAMA editorial staff, editors
of the various Archives Journals published by the AMA, and AMA
senior staff. The committee's charge is 3-fold: (1) To recruit an
editor for JAMA. This includes reviewing the detailed job
description and the editor's reporting relationships. (2) To review
existing practices and develop safeguards that will guarantee
JAMA's integrity, editorial independence, and responsibility.
(3) To determine how the editor's performance can best be measured.
The committee decided its first charge should be the thorough
examination of the editorial governance of JAMA. As we stated
the day the search committee was announced: "Our committee will be
particularly concerned with developing mechanisms that provide complete
safeguards to ensure editorial independence for the new JAMA
During the past 4 months, the committee has met and discussed what
safeguards should be proposed to the AMA to ensure editorial
independence, while also preserving the AMA's responsibilities as
publisher. The committee has solicited input from a number of groups,
including leading medical journal personnel and medical journal editors
What follows is an agreement among the search committee, the
AMA's Board of Trustees, and key AMA senior staff on the governance of
JAMA. It is the result of a number of meetings,
negotiations, and compromises in order to best serve THE
JOURNAL, its mission, AMA members, and all JAMA
On behalf of the AMA, its Board, officers, members, and staff, it is a
pleasure to have reached this milestone agreement. Working
cooperatively with the search committee, we have found an embodiment of
our common goal of
editorial independence and journalistic
responsibility that can set the standard for medical journals into the
next millennium. This is truly a historic day for the AMA and its
family of scientific journals.
We believe it is now time to move forward. The next mission for
the committee is to begin a search for a new editor. As we had
announced at the beginning of this process, we continue to be
"committed to a rigorous and comprehensive international search for
an outstanding physician-scientist with a strong academic background
and considerable experience in the editorial process and medical
"The new editor will be expected to lead JAMA into the 21st
century and to provide the clinical and scientific acumen and vision
needed to maintain JAMA's high standard of
With this governance report in hand, we must now help find the best
person for the job to become JAMA's 15th editor since
THE JOURNAL began publishing in 1883.
Rosenberg RN, Anderson, Jr ER. Editorial Governance of the Journal of the American Medical AssociationA Report. JAMA. 1999;281(23):2239-2240. doi:10.1001/jama.281.23.2239