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The International Journal of Urology (IJU) Editorial Board held the annual Editorial Board Meeting during the memorial 100th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Urological Association (JUA) in Yokohama on 21 April 2012. We were happy to have invited Dr Rajeev Kumar as a guest from the Urological Association of Asia (UAA). Dr Kumar is the Additional Professor of Urology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in India, and has been working for UAA as the Chief Editor of the Asian Urology/UAA website and also for IJU as an Associate Editor. In addition, as the meeting was scheduled during the International Session of the JUA annual meeting, we had other international guests from the European Association of Urology and the American Urological Association. We hereby extend profound gratitude to these guests for their participation and useful advice for IJU.

Professor Homma, Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of IJU, made opening remarks, and then a presentation on the 2011 performance of IJU was made by the Managing Editor, followed by the publisher's report by Mr Robertson from Wiley-Blackwell.

First, the Managing Editor showed the flowchart of the review process of IJU as we made some modifications to the process in 2011 (Fig. 1). Previously, all the decisions were made at the Editorial Meeting. It took a long time to make a decision, though a deliberate discussion for each manuscript was made. Now, one of the Associate Editors handles most reviewing processes, and only the final decision is made by the EIC. Some controversial cases will be discussed at the Editorial Meeting.

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Figure 1. Flowchart of the reviewing process of IJU.

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We receive more than 1000 manuscripts per year (Fig. 2). Original Articles have crept up in number, whereas case reports have come down. More than half of the manuscripts come from Asian countries including Japan, followed by Europe, Middle East and North America (Fig. 3). Now we can say that IJU is Asia's leading journal in the field of urology.

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Figure 2. Number of submissions by manuscript category. inline image, Editorial; inline image, Review Articles; inline image, Case Reports; inline image, Original Articles; inline image, other categories.

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Figure 3. Breakdown of submissions by region in 2011.

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It is a key responsibility of the editorial team to shorten the publication latency. Until 2006, IJU used to take more than 1 year to publish an article (Fig. 4). We have made every effort to improve the reviewing system, which has resulted in the dramatic reduction of the submission–acceptance time to as short as 2.68 months in 2011. The key indicator would be the days between submission and first decision (Fig. 5). Until 2006, even immediate rejections (so-called editor's kicks) required 1 month. Actually, it was an unacceptably long time for the authors! We succeeded in reducing the time to 12 days in 2011. Also, the time to the first decision (rejection or revision) has been shortened to 1.5 months. We are aware that this processing time still needs to be reduced even more.

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Figure 4. Average publication time since 2003. inline image, Submission to acceptance (months); inline image, acceptance to publication (months); inline image, total: online publication (months).

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Figure 5. Average days between submission and first decision. inline image, All; inline image, reject; inline image, revision; inline image, immediate reject.

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As the submissions increase in number, the acceptance rate of the articles gradually decreases. The overall acceptance rate in 2011 was 15.7%.

Following the growth of submissions internationally, we have also seen a growth in the readership of the journal globally. Through many different channels, the journal is effectively available to in excess of 10 000 institutions and to more than 8000 members of JUA. This availability has translated into 220 000 downloads, or views per article, an increase of 60% over the 2010 data. Unexpectedly, the top usage is not from Japan; 26% of usage is in the USA, 12% in Turkey and just 2% in Japan.

The impact factor data for 2011 were released in June. This has increased to 1.747. In 2005, the impact factor was 0.691. By 2009 it had risen above 1 to 1.158. In 2012 it is expected to rise above 2.

All of these increased impacts on the urological community worldwide will result in further growth in submissions. We must maintain the mix of content, preserving the appropriate number of information and educational articles for our readers. This will be balanced with increasing quality of research articles for our authors and readers.

From 2011, IJU became the official journal for both the JUA and the Urological Association of Asia. IJU will be working with Dr Kumar to develop ways in which articles of increasing quality from and about Asia can be published. With the increasing impact factor, editorial balance and faster processing of submissions through peer review, we look forward to reviewing the data again in 2013.

The Editors know that the quality of a medical journal depends on excellent reviewers. As an expression of our gratitude, we have presented an award to outstanding reviewers since 2008. This year, we were proud to award eight reviewers the “Reviewers of the Year 2011”; Dr Haruki Kume, Dr Hiroshi Fukuhara, Prof. Hideyasu Matsuyama, Dr Motoaki Saito, Dr Takahiro Yasui, Dr Craig V Comiter, Dr Hitoshi Oh-oka, Dr Noboru Numao and Dr Yasuhiro Sumino (Fig. 6).

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Figure 6. 2011 Reviewers of the Year together with Editors. From left to right: Prof. Kihara, Dr Kume, Dr Fukuhara, Prof. Matsuyama, Dr Saito, Dr Oh-oka, Dr Yasui, Dr Numao and Prof. Homma.

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Before ending this meeting report, the Editors would like to express profound gratitude to all the participants and everyone involved in IJU.

Conflict of interest

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  2. Conflict of interest

None declared.