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Annual report October 1998 to September 1999
  2. A J KNOX
  1. R L J ORME,
  2. H J HUGHES, Editorial Assistants
  1. Executive Editors

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1999 has been yet another successful year forThorax with an improved impact factor (2.861, ISI Statistics, 1999) of which all who contribute to the journal can be proud.1 These new figures reflect the fact that we are now receiving work of the highest quality. Our initial policy aim of attracting high quality submissions is now taking effect, and we still believe that the journal can continue to improve and provide a competitive international forum for the best research in respiratory medicine.

Thorax has continued its development during the last year. The number of submissions remains high; out of 812 total submissions (including letters), 453 were original papers, the highest figure for five years (table 1), and in September we had the highest number submitted in a month since we became editors. As can be seen from table 2, the papers come from all over the world with little noticeable difference from year to year in numbers of submissions, and the UK remaining at the head of the table. We encourage contributions from all areas of the world.

Table 1

Articles submitted by category

Table 2

Geographical distribution of submissions

Once again we have improved the speed of our review system (table 3) and we aim to keep authors informed as much as possible of the progress of their manuscript. We have successfully reached our objective of a three month period between acceptance and publication of original articles. We also aim to speed up time to publication and will be introducing the electronic despatch of proofs in the very near future.

Table 3

Median time to first decision (days)

Table 4 shows the rates of acceptance which, though showing only 11% of papers accepted each year (this will be higher when pending papers have reached their conclusion), means that only those of the highest quality appear in the journal and there is no large backlog of original papers awaiting publication at any one time. Editorial policy to accept and therefore publish fewer case reports has been reflected in the reduction in number submitted (table 1).

Table 4

Decision of papers submitted 1998/9 as at 30 September 1999

The past year has seen the successful publication of important guidelines on smoking cessation2 and the management of diffuse parenchymal lung disease.3 While review series on passive smoking and genetics drew to a close, we saw the arrival of informative series on rare diseases4 and the interface between primary and secondary care in the management of respiratory disease,5 with a series on the paediatric origins of adult lung disease due to appear in the New Year. 1999 saw the publication of the fifth Year in Review,6 another useful resource for continuing education.

February 1999 saw the arrival ofeThorax 7 which has proved to be a popular research tool with many highly developed new features. Access is free to subscribers to the journal and a web only subscription is now available. The site includes full text, fully searchable archive, articles collected by topic, customised email alerts, cite track, direct access to Medline, and links to a wide range of other journals.

We would like to thank all who work behind the scenes atThorax for their continuing hard work, especially the excellent support of Liz Stockman and Rachel Harvey, and all who have helped with the development and maintenance of the website. We would also like to thank the Year in Review editors and contributors, and the editors of our review series.Thorax is also grateful for all the hard work of the associate editors and advisory board, and the essential contribution of the referees who are acknowledged on page 94.

Many thanks to all who have contributed to the journal in the past year, and we hope Thorax has managed to inform and entertain.