Editor's comment

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A journal where interaction is allowed makes for a more interesting and lively forum.

I would like to remind potential authors that we now expect to receive submissions for consideration for publication through Manuscript Central only. The purpose of this is to provide authors with a relatively quick decision; it is clearly the modern and most effective way to edit a journal. Incidentally, after I mentioned this change in this column previously I received some correspondence to ask me to modify this decision. Although there were only a few letters to this effect I would like to reassure authors that if it is totally impossible for them to submit papers through Manuscript Central because they do not have this technology, I will still consider them. However, the circumstances for receiving papers by post must be extenuating and, by definition, uncommon.

I think that authors have found the new method of submitting papers to be user-friendly and satisfactory. I have also received many letters from reviewers to say that they also enjoy using this system. To facilitate the reviewing process we have added a new dimension to Manuscript Central. When authors submit revised manuscripts they must detail the changes required by the reviewers on a separate sheet, clearly outlining what they have done in response to the reviewers’ comments. They may also outline separately their views as to what has been said, for example if they disagree strongly with a suggestion. They may also, on another sheet, make a response to the Editor. The revised manuscript should accompany all of this. This system is already in operation, and it is my opinion that it constitutes a change which will help authors and reviewers alike, thus hopefully shortening the review process.

I know that I have written about the aim of the editorial group to shorten the review process before, but it is, as always, a very important target. I do not believe that complacency should be allowed to set in once a target has been achieved and so I am very keen to ensure a fast turn-around of papers. To achieve this I would appeal to the reviewers to send in their comments as fast as possible. I am well aware that reviewers are busy with many issues, but I am writing this with the authors’ wishes in mind. Second, I would appeal to the authors to send in their revised manuscripts as quickly as possible also. This should be done within 2-months, so that the revisions can be sent to the reviewers without delay. If the 2-month period is exceeded, the revised manuscript will be accepted as a new submission, which will unfortunately incur a self-imposed delay for the authors in question.

The aim of the BJU International is to combine high-quality papers with interesting and reader-friendly items such as the Comments section. As promised, there are other innovations on the way, not least of which is the introduction of the Mini-Reviews section. In general, comments and mini-reviews are requested directly from authors by members of the editorial group but if an author feels that they would like to submit a comment or mini-review, they will be considered, as with any other submission. Please remember that comments should be no more than 800 words with up to five references; mini-reviews should not exceed 2500 words with up to 25 references. At present I am publishing two mini-reviews per issue, but this will increase to three per issue in the near future.

The photograph on the cover of the Journal changes with each issue, but , as can easily be seen, the overall subject of the photograph will also change with each volume. For example, the histology pictures on the covers of the six issues in Volume 91 (kindly supplied by Dr Cathy Corbishley of St George's Hospital, London) have been replaced by imaging pictures for the six issues of Volume 92 (kindly supplied by Dr Uday Patel, also of St George's Hospital). The motif for Volume 93 remains a closely guarded secret.

There are some interesting Supplements on their way. I hope you will find them entertaining and good to read. They will cover a variety of topics from paediatric urology to urological oncology, urological trauma and laparoscopic urology. They will be appearing intermittently, and will be edited with the same care and attention as the Journal itself.

I have changed the title of one of the sections of the Journal from ‘Basic Science’ to ‘Scientific Discovery’. There were several reasons for this. I do not believe that people involved in ‘Basic Science’ particularly like the term, and in a Journal I think it is rather off-putting to the reader. In addition, it gives the impression that the section only contains items relating to cell biology, to the exclusion of other topics. This is not the aim of this section, which has always included a wide variety of subjects. I believe the title ‘Scientific Discovery’ is a better descriptive term for what is contained in this section.

Finally I remind readers that I would welcome receiving their views about published papers, about topical issues relating to urology or indeed medicine in general, or about their impressions of the Journal. These would also be reviewed, and in many cases published, in the Correspondence Section. A journal where interaction is allowed makes for a more interesting and lively forum.

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