International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases is entering its second phase of existence. It was born into APLAR in 1997 and nurtured by Prof Ken Muirden as it marched ahead into early childhood as APLAR Journal of Rheumatology; it then grew further under the editorship of Professor P H Feng. Prof CS Lau inherited it, renamed it as International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases in recognition of APLAR's global goals and was instrumental in having it indexed initially in Science citation index-extended (SCI-E) and subsequently in Medline. The journal is at the threshold of entering young adulthood today with a modest, but growing impact factor of 0.807. Its publisher Wiley has provided the right grooming to achieve all its feats of success till date.
The Journal is still in its formative years and needs more nutrition in terms of Science and Art of Rheumatology to become a truly international journal. While the aspirations of our APLAR region including science from disadvantaged regions will be kept in mind, uncompromising quality will be the topmost priority of the new editorial team.
An overwhelming willingness to join my team by top experts and scientists from all across the globe in response to my request was reassuring. Special care was also taken to define an inclusive and comprehensive APLAR representation in the editorial team. Now that, we have a bigger editorial team, it will hasten the turnaround time of a manuscript, as prompt decision is often the priority in the minds of the authors. We have also created a panel of experts as reviewers to realise this process. Any more eager experts are still welcome to join.
The new team intends to incorporate new features in the journal to improve quality, readership and visibility. New content and features that you will see introduced over the coming months include:
“Editorial review” on top articles in the current issue as well as a “Letter from the Editor in chief” on issues relevant to the journal and the speciality of Rheumatology, “State of the Art Reviews” and “original articles” on clinical and basic science topics, novel hypotheses (Theoretical or Conceptual) with a strong biological basis featured as “Futuristic Rheumatology”, “APLAR Grand Round” – in-depth discussion of an exceptional case with powerful message, “Postgraduate Quiz” on rare or classical clinical or radiological images, “Rheumatology News & Views from APLAR Region” featuring social, economic, and cultural issues relevant to Rheumatology including announcements, “Expert Comments” on top, recent publications from all journals with relevant learning points, “Milestones in Science, Art and Commerce of Rheumatology” including write ups on exemplary Patients, “Correspondence” including case reports as Letters to the Editor, comments and reply on recent publications in IJRD.
Today, high quality clinical and basic rheumatology research is being carried out by scientists from APLAR countries either at their own home country or elsewhere in the world. Our International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases is an ideal vehicle for the transmission of your labour into the medical literature biosphere.
Currently we have six regular issues and up to two special issues a year. With your support, my team will strive with determination to make it a monthly, high quality international journal sooner than later.