A Meeting of the Minds Behind AFP
Am Fam Physician. 2006 Sep 15;74(6):901.
Each summer, the editors of AFP gather for the editorial meeting. The Kansas-based professional staff editors and the medical editors, who are family physicians from across the country, meet for a round-table discussion on a variety of topics. We take a fresh look at how we’re doing, review policies and procedures, brainstorm about new departments, consider reader feedback we have received during the past year, and plan for upcoming changes to the journal.
The overall purpose of this meeting is to ensure that we continue to publish a high-quality journal for our readers. We focus on improving readability and keeping up with what our readers want. The group reviews comments we have received online (http://www.aafp.org/afp) and through reader feedback cards printed in the first issue of each month. During the meeting, we also collaborate with other departments within the Academy to find ways to add value to the journal, such as more coordination with familydoctor.org, the patient education online resource.
Other topics for discussion were whether we should continue to present our existing departments as they are or create new layouts, the possibility of adding new departments, and what would make our review articles more useful to readers. Each year, we revisit ways to improve the AFP web site. Our goals include improving the search function, making the site easier to navigate, adding links to additional information available through the Academy, and providing supplemental information for articles in the print journal. One of our recent additions is a list of links to department collections, including Photo Quiz and Point-of-Care Guides (http://www.aafp.org/journals/afp/explore/departments.html).
Our annual editorial meeting also gives us a chance to speak to one another in person instead of by phone or e-mail. It is a unique opportunity for the professional editors to hear about the diverse patient populations of our medical editors, which gives us a better sense of what our readers are experiencing.
Although readers are our main focus, we also review comments from authors. We collect data from an ongoing author survey, and discuss suggestions authors have made. To help potential authors, Jay Siwek, M.D., editor of AFP, and his staff will be implementing Web-based electronic submission software. Ideally, this will improve the timeline from submission to publication. Authors will know up front what information is needed, and they will be able to check the status of their article online. We will present more information in the print and online versions of AFP when this new feature is available.
Looking for Your Input
This year at the Academy’s Annual Scientific Assembly in Washington, D.C., the editors in the AFP booth will be asking for feedback on a short survey about AFP in general, “Tips from Other Journals,” and an idea for a new monthly column.
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