The Veterinary Journal The Veterinary Journal 170 (2005) 1–2 www.elsevier.com/locate/tvjl
Electronic publishing and a new era for The Veterinary Journal
Sandra Tatum ALA, who retired in July 2005 as Assistant Editor of The Veterinary Journal after 15 years in the post.
The Veterinary Journal continues to receive gratifying feedback from readers, reviewers and authors following the introduction last year of our electronic peer-review and editorial processes. The removal of proliﬁc paper ﬁles of manuscripts and the associated correspondence has enabled us to streamline our operations and has also led to signiﬁcant savings in postage, photocopying and storage space. Increased eﬃciency has its cost, however, and in parallel with our rising impact factor, TVJ is experiencing an unprecedented increase in the number of papers submitted for publication. Although we still aim to publish on line within 6–8 weeks of acceptance (subject of course to authors returning their corrected e-proofs promptly), 1090-0233/$ - see front matter Ó 2005 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.tvjl.2005.06.001
there has been a negative eﬀect on the lead time before a paper appears in a hard copy issue of the Journal. For some authors, this does not matter as each online article has a unique digital object identiﬁer, or doi number, and can therefore be cited using the doi instead of the conventional volume and page numbers. Others quite reasonably want to see their paper in print and a delay of around 15 months is not satisfactory. To address this, we are budgeting to increase by some 45% the number of pages per issue as from 2006. Some critics have suggested we increase our rejection rate to bring down the wait time to hard copy publication. But the standard of articles published in TVJ remains high and our rejection rate is already over 50%,
Editorial / The Veterinary Journal 170 (2005) 1–2
which, according to the Veterinary LibrarianÕs Mailing List (VETLIB-L), is similar to that of Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (50%) and American Journal of Veterinary Research (55%). According to VETLIB-L, authors are increasingly using a journalÕs rejection rate in their tenure review statements – the implication being that prestigious and high quality journals have lower manuscript acceptance rates. As part of the change process inherent in modern journal publishing, the format for handing papers editorially will inevitably become more centralised, and in the coming year TVJ is scheduled to transfer into the Elsevier Editorial Service (EES). This is a major exercise for the editorial team as the receipt and handling of articles will operate through the Elsevier Editorial Oﬃce in Amsterdam in line with the publishersÕ aim that 90% of the Elsevier journals will be using the system by 2007. The arrangement will automate much of the processing of articles and is intended to ease the administrative burden on editors. As we embark on these changes, our long-serving and dedicated Assistant Editor, Sandra Tatum, has decided to retire. Many authors and reviewers have communicated with Sandra at The Animal Health Trust, Newmarket, for nearly 15 years, and over 2000 manuscripts have passed through her hands. She has developed a wide network of (often unseen) friends and colleagues, but what many may not know is that Sandra is actually senior librarian at the AHT and has worked at the institute for most of her professional life. During this time there have been many changes in the provision of information to scientiﬁc staﬀ as the use of electronic databases have made the task of searching easier but the task of selection more diﬃcult as information overload arrived. The librarianÕs roˆle has changed dramatically and now includes negotiating electronic licenses, database training, all kinds of online provision, and helping users to avoid the pitfall of thinking that an unstructured Google-type search will answer all their needs. One of SandraÕs main professional interests since 1993 has been the group Animal Health Information Specialists UK & Ireland (www. ahis.org) in which she has been involved since its beginning, acting as Chairman for some years and helping to organise the annual conferences. The role of AHIS in developing networking between veterinary librarians worldwide to the beneﬁt of seekers of veterinary information is probably not widely known outside the profession. When Sandra joined the Journal, it was then called The British Veterinary Journal and was published by
Baillie`re Tindall. We have been through several metamorphoses since then, before becoming part of Elsevier, the multiple-media publisher of scientiﬁc, technical and health information products and services, with its 7000 employees in 73 locations around the globe. The work of Editorial Assistant has also become very diﬀerent as manuscripts at various stages in the reviewing process have changed into a large number of ﬁled electronic documents. But distribution of information by electronic means is one of the good changes to have happened – for librarians, for editorial assistants, and for every user of information. All of us at TVJ will be very sorry to lose Sandra but we do have two new appointments. Kumar Sivam has jointed the Journal as Associate Editor. Kumar is a veterinarian and an epidemiologist working at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) in UK. Since joining VLA in 2001 he has led the Scrapie Epidemiology workgroup, managed the Centre for Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, and now works on strategy development and implementation for VLA. He has a wide range of veterinary interests, backed up by his involvement in knowledge management and management of organisational change. We also have a new Books Editor in Ron Jones who, prior to his recent retirement, held a personal chair in Veterinary Anaesthesia at the University of Liverpool, where he was also Dean of the Veterinary School. Ron was the founder editor of the Proceedings of the Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists which was the predecessor of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia and he is a member of the Editorial Board and Assistant Editor of that Journal. He has been a member of the Advisory Board of TVJ since 1994. The new team is determined to maintain the personal link with authors and referees. This relationship with our stakeholders has been fundamental to TVJ throughout the 130 years of its existence and we will do our utmost to continue to provide you with that service in the future. We always welcome feedback and comments, ideas for commissioned review articles, suggestions for books to review and, of course, fundamental to our success is a continuing ﬂow of high quality research papers to help us maintain our position at the forefront of veterinary science publishing. Editor Andrew Higgins