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We are pleased to announce that Thorax is about to start posting all original articles on its website in an Online First section (http://www.thoraxjnl.com) shortly after acceptance and before the papers are published in the print version of the journal. Although the time from acceptance to publication in Thorax is relatively short, this initiative is a welcome contribution. An Online First programme was introduced by the British Medical Journal in December 2003,1 followed by other specialist journals from the BMJ Publishing Group.2 All original articles have also been posted early after acceptance by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine for some time.3
Authors want their research studies to be published as soon as possible after acceptance so that their important scientific and clinical findings can be cited and incorporated into practice. However, there are inevitable delays between acceptance of an article and its appearance in the print version of the journal. Online First in Thorax will allow research work to be available much faster to the research community; manuscripts that have not yet been finally edited by our technical editor will be posted on the website.
With the introduction of Online First, authors will be asked to check their papers carefully after acceptance and then the unedited pdf proof of the manuscript will be posted. The paper will be identified by its unique number—the digital object identifier (DOI)—which will appear at the top of the pdf and will be used to cite the article. Articles published Online First will also be indexed by PubMed early after online publication and will be available when searching for papers using search engines such as PubMed and Google. The final version of the article will be edited by the technical editor and then printed with its DOI number. All versions of the paper will be linked online and will be available to readers.
We hope that the introduction of Thorax Online First will be welcomed by researchers, clinicians, and readers. We encourage you all to log on frequently and to visit the new site to view the recently accepted papers in the journal. Articles can be accessed using the ThoraxOnline First icon on the Thorax home page. With progress in electronic publishing, important advances in respiratory medicine can now be implemented much more quickly to the benefit of patients all over the world.