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A few changes for 2010

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 31 December 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b5632
  1. Fiona Godlee, editor, BMJ
  1. fgodlee{at}

    In this first print issue of 2010 you’ll find a few small but significant changes. Most significant is our new Research section (p 30), where authors summarise their research articles that have been published in full on In case any of you have missed previous explanations for this move away from publishing full research articles in print, let me summarise.

    Repeated surveys of print readers over more than 20 years have shown that, although some read the research abstracts, very few read the full research articles. Meanwhile, online surveys consistently put research articles among the most popular types of BMJ content. This has confirmed our view that research belongs online, where authors can have all the space they need (the BMJ has no word limits on research articles) as well as an expanding array of online bells and whistles (additional tables and figures, videos, podcasts, commentaries, rapid responses, and blogs).

    We were already shortening research articles in print, but this created work for authors and us and confusion among readers as to which was the full version. So we have come up with one page summaries in print which we hope will increase the impact of research among clinicians and policy makers. Feedback from authors and readers has been positive. One suggestion has been that we could do more to highlight implications for clinicians and health systems. Over time, the summary format will evolve.

    It’s a good time to take this step. Our readership continues to grow in print and online: the BMJ is now the most widely read weekly medical publication in the UK, and its online readership is second only to that of the New England Journal of Medicine. Article submissions are growing, from the UK and internationally. And, though I hesitate to mention such a flawed measure, the BMJ’s impact factor is a respectable 12.8.

    While allowing our research authors full stretch on line, we now have room for more educational content in print—something that readers consistently ask us for. This week we have a clinical review on atrial fibrillation (doi:10.1136/bmj.b5216), a patient’s journey from a doctor recovering from her 10 year fight with anorexia nervosa (doi:10.1136/bmj.b3800), a lesson of the week describing prolonged amenorrhoea in a woman treated for breast cancer (doi:10.1136/bmj.b4261), and a 10 minute consultation on hirsutism (doi:10.1136/bmj.b3090). There’s also our weekly series of Endgames to test your clinical knowledge (

    In addition, as part of our commitment to support better clinical and health systems research, you’ll find regular articles in the Research Methods and Reporting section that explore ways of improving how research is performed and reported (*).

    And there’s a new occasional column, Roundtable, where you can highlight a current book, film, or television programme for others to discuss in our online forum doc2doc ( This week, that famous scourge of complementary medicine David Colquhoun turns his sceptical eye on the low fat diet in his review of Gary Taube’s paradigm-shifting book The Diet Delusion.

    The BMJ is your journal. Please tell us what you think.


    Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:b5632

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