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We are pleased to see Thorax back as the respiratory journal with the highest impact factor in Europe (2.3, ISSN Statistics 1998). This undoubtedly reflects the high quality of submitted papers. Our review system is still working extremely quickly. The median time to first decision was 56 days for full papers and 24 days for short papers, which compares favourably with last year’s figures and is a marked improvement on previous years (table1).1 We believe that this decision time is by far the most rapid of any respiratory journal. Our policy of only accepting the best papers2 is reflected again in the acceptance rate which, for papers submitted in the year up to 30 September 1998, will be somewhere midway between 15% and 45% (table 2). The number of original papers is down slightly (table 3),1-3 with the UK and Western Europe being the main source of our manuscripts (table4).1-3 Thorax is an international journal and we are keen to increase the number of papers that we publish from other parts of the world. In keeping with this approach we have expanded the international advisory board in an attempt to make it more representative of worldwide respiratory medicine. We would therefore encourage contributors from North, Central and South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Australasia to think about Thorax for their work.
Last year saw the publication of important guidelines on the management of respiratory disesases including tuberculosis4 and lung cancer.5 In conjunction with guidelines on COPD,6 asthma,7 and nebulisers8which were published in 1997, these serve as a useful concise source of current wisdom in respiratory medicine. 1998 saw the end of the highly successful Science Matters series9 with continuation of the review series on passive smoking10 and new review series on lung infections11 and genetics,12 in addition to a supplement on sleep disordered breathing13 and important articles on coal mining and COPD.14 15 The Year in Review supplement16 also seems to have been well received by the respiratory community. The letters section of the journal continues to be a forum for active debate and we would encourage people to send us their opinions on articles and editorials that we publish.
Overall, 1998 was a very successful year forThorax. We would like to take the opportunity to thank the associate editors for maintaining the high standard of the journal and the excellent support from the BMJ Publications staff, Elizabeth Stockman who has provided technical editing to a consistently high standard despite relocating in Bermuda and Rachel Orme who has run the editorial office superbly well despite the foibles of the executive editors. We would also like to thank the Year in Review editors and contributors for producing the goods yet again and the members of the advisory board and referees whose vital contribution is gratefully acknowledged on page 94. Most of all we thank the contributors for continuing to send high quality work toThorax. We appeal to researchers around the world: send us your papers, we will give you a quick review and, if accepted, your paper is likely to be widely cited.
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