Readers of this issue of Obesity Research will note that the index of contents includes a large number of manuscripts that are available only on line and will not appear in print. I want to offer an explanation for this unusual action.
When I took over as Interim Editor in January of this year, I discovered there was a backlog of accepted manuscripts that was equivalent to 14 months of publication space. Many manuscripts were taking longer than 12 months to go from acceptance to appearance in print. I did not consider this situation to be fair either to the authors or to our readers since many of the reviews may be outdated by the time of their publication as research productivity in all fields related to obesity is currently so high. New information and insight is appearing weekly in the literature, so there was a strong possibility that some reviews would already be ‘out of date’ by the time of their appearance in print.
We and the publishers felt the most appropriate response was to offer speedy electronic publication for the majority of back-dated manuscripts. I personally would like to thank the authors that have accepted this route for their understanding and agreement. None of us is happy with this situation, but we feel it is the best solution to the current problem.
How then does the editor and editorial board prevent this situation arising again in the future? Obesity Reviews has an Impact Factor greater than 5, so it is recognized as a major journal in the field of obesity and its related comorbidities. To ensure that the acceptance rate matches our publication abilities in the short term, I have initiated a review system that, with the help of our expert reviewers, will allow prioritization of manuscripts for publication to those that cover topics that have not been reviewed elsewhere recently in the literature, to those that offer novel insights, interpretations or hypotheses and to those that are seen by the reviewers to have major importance and impact on the field. The need for up to date reviews in the Obesity field and the success of Obesity Reviews in meeting this need, has created the current problem. Our longer term aim must be to address this need by increasing our page numbers but this will be contingent upon increased subscriptions and income to the journal that will make it financially possible. Readers can help by recommending subscriptions to your libraries and colleagues.