An appreciation of Bodger


It is usual for an incoming editor to write a short editorial in approbation of the outgoing editor. For obvious reasons this eulogium has been delayed; but how appropriate that I should write this appreciation of Professor Chamberlain in the first issue of the new year, when all the troubles which beset the Journal last year are now laid to rest.

Bodger came to the Journal at a difficult time, and he left the Journal at a difficult time, but during his tenure as Editor in Chief he brought about changes which have been of enormous benefit. He had vision and was not afraid to introduce new ideas. Although no computer enthusiast he realised the importance of electronic production of the Journal in order to shorten the time taken to publish manuscripts, and it is thanks to his energy that electronic production will soon become a reality. To increase variety in the Journal he introduced review articles, historical articles, and reports of College meetings, as well as increased the number of commentaries and the volume of correspondence. Some of these changes are much appreciated by readers; others not so. He was entirely responsible for the centenary issues of the Journal, when his feeling for history resulted in the juxtaposition of articles by Chassar Moir (1943) on the effect of ergot alkaloids on the postpartum uterus, and by Brian Trudinger (1993) on the effect of aspirin on angiotensin sensitivity, and articles by Ian Donald (1965) on the uses of ultrasound in obstetrics and gynaecology, and by Chris Redman (1993) on assessment of maternal cerebral circulation by transcranial Doppler ultrasound. The effect was stunning. It showed quite clearly that although technology had changed, the process of scientific thought had not–a consideration to humble us if we rashly claim any superiority over our ancestors. Bodger had a Churchillian flair for choosing subordinates and getting the best out of them by a mixture of flattery and gruffness, always exactly timed. One of his main concerns was to improve the efficiency of the handling of manuscripts during the editorial process. How ironic therefore that a hiccup in these procedures should have led to his early retirement from the Journal.

Professor Chamberlain's legacy is that we endeavour to publish the most important research in obstetrics and gynaecology which is likely to influence clinical practice; that we publish a Journal which is attractive to readers, both in its content and in its appearance; and that we adapt to the electronic world, to speed up the process of publication. This was his vision, and it is ours also. We wish Bodger a happy retirement from his chair at St George's, and all success in his new chair in Swansea.