HISTORY IS USEFUL

Authors

  • MARC SCHUCKIT

    Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Studies on Alcohol
    1. School of Medicine University of California, Alcohol Research Center Va San Diego Healthcare System, 9500 Gilman Drive no. 9116-A, La Jolla, CA 92093–9116-A, USA. E-mail: mschuckit@ucsd.edu
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Both Addiction and Griffith Edwards (in my mind I have difficulty telling the difference between the two) have always been aware of the communities they serve. They both know that recognizing the centrality of one's audience is an important step in many things in life, including lectures, books, manuscripts and journals. This lesson has been a driving force for Addiction since Griffith assumed the role as Editor in 1978, and has been a central element of the clear vision developed for this important Journal.

My reaction to this fine paper should be viewed with the recognition that I am more of a ‘person person’ than an ‘institution man’. Therefore (and I hope Griff will forgive me), I was moved even more by the words of the author than by the important task described in the manuscript.

Typical of Griffith, this paper reads with the eloquence of a fine short story. From the material described I could almost smell the fog and smoke on the characters in the 1880s, with a resulting urge to visit and read some of the original papers and essays from the 1884 Proceedings of the Society. I was also impressed with the description of the obvious lessons learned over time regarding the importance of strong leadership, and the need for a sense of mission that successfully launched the Journal in the 1880s, with similar influences helping Addiction to find its stride once more in the 1960s.

The forces that contributed to the revamping of what became the British Journal of Addiction in 1982 and its subsequent metamorphosis to Addiction in 1994 reflected the same type of strong underpinnings that served as the foundations for the Journal 120 years ago. However, the impressive modern spin set the stage for a number of important developments in the recent decades. Griffith and Addiction have both emphasized the need to develop clinically relevant diagnostic criteria while paying heed to social influences. At the same time, the Journal maintains strong leadership in reminding us of our ethical responsibilities in science and publishing, while reaching out to the application of these ideas to diverse societies across the world.

In summary, this wonderful paper shows us where the Journal has been, how it has been influenced by both science and social movements, and the central importance of strong leaders with a clear vision. Table 7 presents an impressive overview of where the Journal presently is, and where it is likely to go in the near future. As far as I am concerned, Addiction remains in good hands, but its future success will also be a tribute to the important developments Griffith Edwards has implemented. As a ‘person person’ I am grateful for all that Griff has done for us, and know that both my personal and professional life have been immensely enriched by his attributes as a man as much (or perhaps even more) than by his stellar performance in creating a world-class journal.

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