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Cate DeweyFrom the Editor

How can we improve the Journal of Swine Health and Production?

We hope that the Journal of Swine Health and Production (JSHAP) provides an important source of information for you. As it arrives in your mailbox, JSHAP is the cumulative work of many people over many months. We realise that there is always room for improvement, as with any professional activity.

The JSHAP staff participate in a conference call after every issue has been sent to press. This is our opportunity to find solutions to current problems and brainstorm about how we can make the journal even better for you, the reader. In addition, at the AASV Annual Meeting, the Editorial Board, the ancillary article editors, and the staff of JSHAP meet to discuss ideas on how to improve the functioning and quality of the journal. Each year, changes are made to the review process, the journal itself, or both, in response to these meetings.

Over the past year, we prepared and submitted a report to the literature selection technical review committee of the National Library of Medicine, anticipating that JSHAP would be selected as one of the journals listed with Index Medicus (MEDLINE). Unfortunately, our application for indexing was rejected. Approximately 13,500 biomedical journals are published throughout the world. Index Medicus lists 4500 titles. Only 25 to 30% of titles submitted for review are selected for indexing. A title must receive an overall score of 4 (out of 5) to be included in the index. We received a score of 2, which means that in 2 years we are eligible to submita second application for re-consideration by the journal review team.

The review panel examined four recent JSHAP issues and scored the journal in various categories on a scale of 0 to 5 (where 5 was the best score). The two broad categories considered were quality and importance of the journal. In most categories that described quality, JSHAP rated well, receiving an overall quality score of 3.5. Our journal received a rating of 4 (excellent) for clinical research, authors and institutions represented, and editorial board quality. The reviewers commented positively on the fact that the journal is peer reviewed. The journal was rated as good (3) in the areas of review articles, basic research, and case reports, editorials, and ancillary articles. However, the journal received a rating of 2 (moderate) in production quality, which included layout, printing, binding, graphics, and number and location of advertisements. The specific quality issues were not made clear; however, they did express concern about the advertisements interrupting the text of the papers.

The reviewers considered the journal to be of moderate overall importance. The good news was that the reviewers felt the journal was of very high importance to clinicians in the field (score of 4) and highly important to researchers, allied health professionals, and students (score of 3). They viewed the journal as only moderately important (score of 2) for clinicians in fields other than swine health management, and for educators, administrators, and policy makers. The only additional comment was that JSHAP was a peer-reviewed journal.

In conclusion, the reviewers felt that the journal provided excellent clinical research, written by excellent authors from excellent institutions and had an editorial board of excellent quality. Finally, the journal was perceived as having very high importance for the clinician in the field. Perhaps we should celebrate the fact that we have indeed succeeded in these areas.

Certainly there are some changes we can make in response to this external review. However, it is also important that we understand how can we improve JSHAP for you, our readers. If you have recommendations to improve the journal, please send us an e-mail or letter. Our contact information is on the inside front cover of each issue. Over the next few months, we hope to send a survey to you asking for your input. Please help us by completing the survey. Together we will enhance JSHAP for the benefit of us all.

--Cate Dewey