Published January 1, 1999 - More info
Seventy-five years ago, in the first pages of the first volume of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Alfred E. Cohn proposed that this new journal “give expression” to “the spirit which has called the American Society for Clinical Investigation into being” (1). Cohn defined that new spirit as flowing from the growing self-consciousness of academic medicine, which recognized that its bailiwick was the “legitimate interest in learning as well as a means for furthering the methods which lead to the cure of disease.” Three-quarters of a century later, that is still the raison d'être of the JCI. This has not and will not change.
But some things do change for this journal; you are either holding an example or looking at one on your computer screen. As Cohn pointed out in the JCI's first editorial, academic medicine is never unaffected by the world around it. And, as we have learned, neither is academic medical publishing. Beginning with this issue, we are taking into account the realities of new technology and trends, and are now publishing the Journal directly from our editorial office. We are very grateful to Rockefeller University Press for its years of service to the Society. Nevertheless, it became clear to both parties that the JCI should be published directly by its Society, which will realize both financial and scientific benefits. Financially, the Journal will be more economical to produce, and thus subscriptions, page charges, etc. will be held to a minimum. Scientifically, we will be able to even further reduce turnaround time from acceptance to publication, as we will have more direct control over deadlines and issue contents. Faster turnaround can only help the ongoing dialogue that defines the research enterprise.
There are other changes as well. As readers may already know (2), we are now accepting letters to the editor on the website. We also plan to continue our “fast track” approach to the reviewing and publishing of Rapid publications. In most cases, decisions regarding Rapids are now being completed within two weeks of receipt. We are also turning our attention toward providing a wider range of Editorials, Commentaries, and Perspectives in the “front” of the book, in order to give the greatest number of readers access to the first-rate science published in the “back.” We are eager to hear your ideas on specific topics, and hope to cover a wide spectrum of interests.
As I outlined in my very first editorial (3), all of the members of the Editorial Board are keenly aware of the fact that this is not “our” journal, but rather your journal. If the changes we are implementing enhance the JCI's utility for you, that is precisely our goal. If there are problems, we want to know. It will undoubtedly take some time for the dust to settle following all this construction, but we think it is worth the effort. And, despite all these changes, it is not a new foundation we are building. As always, the Board meets weekly to review all submitted manuscripts. We continue to place considerable emphasis on our efforts to select those works for publication that not only pass muster with our external referees, but also those that will appeal to our broad readership. Prioritization is an inexact science, but we feel that the large expanse of research interests covered by our editors ensures proper balance for all disciplines. By keeping our eyes focused on our most important goal — the rapid dissemination of the best science possible — we strive to renew the spirit in which the JCI was founded and by which it has been guided for the past 75 years.