Published online on May 18, 2009
No Country for Old Men†
Article first published online: 18 MAY 2009
Copyright © 2009 ASBMR
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research
Volume 24, Issue 7, page 1141, July 2009
How to Cite
Clemens, T. L. (2009), No Country for Old Men. J Bone Miner Res, 24: 1141. doi: 10.1359/jbmr.090518
- Issue published online: 4 DEC 2009
- Article first published online: 18 MAY 2009
When I became the JBMR Editor in January 2008, I felt a bit like the West Texas sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones in the recent Coen brothers' film who is demoralized by what he sees things coming to. To me, the science publishing business had indeed become no country for old men—or old ideas! Our publishing team has worked hard this year to modernize the Journal while maintaining its tradition of service to our members in the bone and mineral field. We can point to some successes. Our average time from original submission to initial decision is down to 28 days and, along with this, we are continuing to improve the manuscript submission, peer review, and editorial processes. We now feature Perspectives and Commentaries in each issue, both of which spotlight hot topics and breaking issues that together are expected to improve the Journal's impact factor. We also gave the JBMR a needed “face lift” by featuring original artwork on our cover.
Even larger steps to improve the Journal are in the offing. Since 1994, the JBMR has been “self-published” by our Society. ASBMR has done an excellent job. Dramatic changes in scientific publishing over the last decade have required a re-evaluation of the Society's role in publishing the JBMR. Online publication, which is now routine for many top journals, has raised the expectations of investigators, clinicians, and others for faster and more open access to journal content. The move to electronic distribution has prompted new publication business models and demanded novel marketing and advertising strategies. In a shifting marketplace driven by financial realities, larger societies and commercial publishers have gained significant advantages over smaller societies with only one or two publications, particularly with regard to more widespread distribution of journal content and cost efficiencies. In light of these developments, I asked incoming ASBMR President, Marc Drezner, and Publications Committee Chair, Paddy Ross, to “deputize” a Publications Review Group of senior ASBMR leaders to conduct a thorough analysis of ASBMR's publishing operations. The key question asked by this group was straightforward: would ASBMR and the entire bone and mineral community be served better if JBMR was published by an “outside” publisher?
With input from two outstanding professional publishing consultants and an expert in contract law, the Publications Review Group completed the first phase of its analysis. Seven leading commercial publishers responded to a request for proposals to publish the Journal. Along with the ASBMR publishing staff, who submitted their own proposal, these applications outlined a 5-year budget and publication plan. By the time you read this editorial, the decision to engage either one of these contract publishing firms or to stay self-published within our own Society will have been made. The Publications Review Group and the ASBMR leadership are taking great care to ensure that all aspects of the question—quality of content, editorial management, and potential financial impact—are carefully considered. I am confident that whatever the decision, we will be better positioned to deliver an improved JBMR next year.
Another exciting development is the new ASBMR website. JBMR is featured prominently on the front page of the new site, which also includes a section devoted entirely to the Journal. As each issue of JBMR is released online, the cover and three highlighted articles are displayed on the front page of the ASBMR website, along with a link to the JBMR site (www.jbmronline.org). The extensive new section devoted to the Journal includes the Commentary article from the latest issue, the original article on which the Commentary was based, and the Perspectives article from the most recent issue. These new web features will be managed by a senior editor and will make it easier to identify articles of interest in JBMR and to navigate quickly to JBMR articles directly from the main ASBMR site. I hope that you are finding these new features to be helpful.
Last, but definitely not least, I am moving! On July 15th, I will take a new post in the Department of Orthopaedics at Johns Hopkins University. A key factor in this decision was my desire to secure more protected time to devote to my research and to the JBMR. Thus, my move is expected to enhance my activities in connection with Editorship of JBMR. In this regard, I am happy to report that my Senior Associate Editor, Dr. Xu Cao, will join me at Hopkins, which will greatly facilitate day-to-day journal operations. I am extremely proud to have the opportunity to oversee the publication of our society's flagship and am wholly committed to providing the highest level of support to all our publications. I am convinced that our recent and incipient changes to the ASBMR Publications Program will improve the quality of our publications and help the Society develop new publications that will continue to reflect the high standards of the ASBMR. As always, I welcome your comments on how JBMR editorial processes or any other aspect of the Journal might be improved.