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April 3, 2018

To JAMA Authors, Reviewers, and Readers—Thank You

Author Affiliations
  • 1Editor in Chief (Bauchner), Executive Editor (Fontanarosa), and Deputy Editor (Golub), JAMA
JAMA. 2018;319(13):1329-1330. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.3775

The creation and communication of scientific and clinical content continue to undergo substantial change, and biomedical journals and other publications are evolving to develop new mechanisms and channels for efficient information dissemination. For example, open access journals and options for open access publication have become common.1 Many investigators are increasingly interested in speed to publication.2 Preprint servers that disseminate non–peer-reviewed content have proliferated.3 Team science, reflecting collaborative research involving multiple investigators and research groups, has become more prevalent with the growth of research networks and consortia and the continued emergence of big data and data sharing.4 Data sharing is evolving, with the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) soon requiring greater transparency regarding sharing of data, with the expectation that every report of a randomized clinical trial will include a statement of whether data will be shared, and if so, how and with whom.5 More changes have come to the dissemination of scientific information in the last decade than in the previous 100 years.

Yet despite this ongoing evolution, certain fundamental aspects inherent in the responsible dissemination of rigorous scientific information by major scientific journals have remained virtually unchanged. Journals depend on authors to provide content for publication, consisting of important, novel, and valid research conducted with the highest ethical standards and reported with accuracy and fidelity to the study design. Journals rely on peer reviewers from the scientific and clinical community to provide expert scientific and methodological consultations to aid in editorial decision making and to improve and enhance the content of scientific reports. Journals serve the information needs of their readership and other constituencies by delivering high-quality, reliable content in the most efficient and effective ways possible, and in formats that communicate the information clearly and transparently.

In this issue of JAMA, we express our appreciation to these 3 important constituencies: authors, reviewers, and readers.

We hereby thank all authors who have submitted manuscripts for consideration for publication in JAMA. We are grateful to have the opportunity to evaluate these manuscripts, including research reports, ranging from major multicenter clinical trials and large-scale observational investigations to highly innovative and promising preliminary investigations; comprehensive systematic reviews and rigorous meta-analyses; and insightful opinion articles, including scholarly Viewpoints and thoughtful Editorials. Our goal is to ensure that the evaluation of all manuscripts is objective and fair and as efficient as possible while maintaining the highest standards. For manuscripts selected for revision, we appreciate the assistance of authors in ensuring that their published articles are consistent with JAMA criteria and policies for scientific rigor and effective presentation. This is particularly important for randomized clinical trials with the goal that the scientific report is consistent with the trial protocol, statistical analytic plan, and trial registration. In addition, as a service to authors, at the time of manuscript submission authors may designate 1 of the 11 JAMA Network specialty journals to which they would like their manuscript referred for further evaluation in the event the manuscript is not accepted for publication in JAMA. Now, with the recent launch of JAMA Network Open, authors of manuscripts submitted to JAMA also have the option of selecting an open access journal for their work.1

We also extend our sincere thanks to the 2707 peer reviewers who evaluated manuscripts for JAMA in 2017. Peer review remains a vitally important yet somewhat underappreciated academic responsibility, and we hope that publishing the names of all of these reviewers will provide some well-deserved recognition for their important contributions.6 Included among these peer reviewers are those with statistical expertise. As research has become more complex, the need for high-quality statistical review has become more imperative, and every research report published in JAMA undergoes such review. Even though the recommendations of peer reviewers regarding publication are not binding in terms of editorial decisions, the insightful comments and suggestions provided by peer reviewers are carefully considered in the editorial evaluation of submitted manuscripts and are instrumental in improving the quality of published reports.

In addition, we express our appreciation to all readers of JAMA content—those who access, read, and learn from JAMA articles and information in any format and venue. We continue to strive to serve the needs of readers by publishing major research reports that advance medical science, as well as high-quality, timely, relevant, and reliable clinical information that will be useful to practicing physicians. The quality, importance, and influence of articles published in the journal are reflected in JAMA’s current impact factor of 44.4. In 2017, 5 articles published in JAMA were included in the Altmetric “top 100 most discussed journal articles” (of more than 2 million articles tracked).7 In addition to important research reports, articles with immediate relevance to clinical practice are a high priority, such as recent recommendation statements from the US Preventive Services Task Force on topics such as hormone therapy for postmenopausal women, behavioral counseling for diet and physical activity, and screening for colon cancer, as well as comprehensive clinical review articles on topics such as management of asthma, delirium in older adults, and pneumonia in children.

The distribution and uptake of content published in JAMA have continued to expand, reflecting the evolving nature of the dissemination of scientific content (Table). The print version of the journal is distributed to approximately 290 000 recipients each week, and electronic uptake of JAMA content continues to increase substantially each year. In 2017, there were more than 33 million “views” (ie, full-text/PDF views or downloads) of JAMA content (70 million across the entire JAMA Network), with approximately half of this online access from countries outside the United States. JAMA is truly an international journal. More than 700 000 individuals receive the electronic table of contents of each JAMA issue, approximately 1.2 million alerts are distributed each week for articles released Online First (reports published electronically weeks before print publication), and more than 600 000 individuals follow JAMA on social media.

Table.  JAMA Statistics for 2017
JAMA Statistics for 2017

In addition, in 2017, listeners downloaded more than 2 million podcasts featuring JAMA articles and related content, and physician-readers claimed approximately 130 000 continuing medical education (CME) credits. To enhance access to the clinical content of the journal, a new app was recently released.8 This app assembles our clinical review and author interview podcasts and allows the listener to acquire CME credit within the app.

The quality of a journal should not be based upon any single factor, but rather should depend on the quality of its content and peer review; how a journal leverages modern communication techniques; the uptake of the journal in social media and traditional media outlets; and most important, the readership of the journal in print, online, and by video and audio. As the creation and communication of clinical and scientific information continue to evolve, JAMA will continue to develop creative, innovative, and vibrant ways to deliver scientific and clinical content effectively and efficiently. However, regardless of the extent of these changes, certain priorities for JAMA will remain unchanged, the most important of which are to serve the clinical, scientific, and academic community of authors and reviewers who contribute to JAMA and to provide reliable content to serve the information needs of all who read and access the journal.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Phil B. Fontanarosa, MD, MBA, JAMA (phil.fontanarosa@jamanetwork.org).

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: All authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none were reported.

Rivara  FP, Easley  TJ, Flanagin  A, Bauchner  H.  Announcing JAMA Network Open: a new journal from the JAMA Network.  JAMA. 2017;318(13):1230-1232.PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Bauchner  H.  The rush to publication: an editorial and scientific mistake.  JAMA. 2017;318(12):1109-1110.PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Maslove  DM.  Medical preprints—a debate worth having.  JAMA. 2018;319(5):443-444.PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Fontanarosa  P, Bauchner  H, Flanagin  A.  Authorship and team science.  JAMA. 2017;318(24):2433-2437.PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Taichman  DB, Sahni  P, Pinborg  A,  et al.  Data sharing statements for clinical trials: a requirement of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.  JAMA. 2017;317(24):2491-2492.PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
 JAMA peer reviewers in 2017  [published April 3, 2018].  JAMA. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.2441Google Scholar
The Altmetric top 100. https://www.altmetric.com/top100/2017/#list. Accessed March 16, 2018.