Revitalising rapid responses

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7503.1284 (Published 02 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1284
  1. Sharon Davies, letters editor (sdavies@bmj.com),
  2. Tony Delamothe, web editor
  1. BMJ

    We're raising the bar for publication

    I will go root away

    The noisome weeds, which without profit suck

    The soil's fertility from wholesome flowers.

    Shakespeare, Richard II

    When we were somewhat greener, we likened websites to gardens: both combine amazing opportunities for experiment with the option of obliterating mistakes when things go wrong.1 But even then we warned, “Turn your back on them for a few weeks, and they're overrun with weeds.” This is the fate that has befallen rapid responses, and why we're raising our threshold for publication.

    On their launch, these electronic letters to the editor were hailed as the salvation of the journal's need to provide opportunities for timely debate. Previously, we had published only about one third of the letters to the editor that we received, and those about six months late.2

    Marking the publication of the 20 000th response in 2002, we judged the experiment a …

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