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Am Fam Physician. 2002;66(5):713

AFP has a full calendar—one filled with deadlines, that is. Each issue reflects the fulfillment of hundreds of deadlines: art and editorial deadlines, production deadlines, printing deadlines, Web production deadlines. Even our deadlines have deadlines. At about this time each year, AFP and its printing firm work quickly to finalize the deadline calendar for the upcoming year. The grid of major printing deadlines for a year's worth of AFP takes up two standard letter-size sheets, with at least 480 deadlines. We begin with the desired mailing dates and work backward: binding dates, press dates, film dates. All other deadlines spring from those dates: prepress service bureau deadlines, page layout deadlines, graphics deadlines, artist deadlines, editorial deadlines, peer review deadlines, author deadlines.

Each article and department in AFP has six major editorial-production deadlines once work begins in the Leawood, Kan., editorial office: first edit, review edit, author review, first page layout, revised page proof, and date to the service bureau. Each issue of AFP contains five to seven articles and at least a dozen departments or major components; by a conservative estimate, at least 100 major editorial-production deadlines underlie each issue, and that's after editorial content has already been through initial medical editor review. AFP's editorial and production office handles at least 2,400 major deadlines per year, or more than nine major deadlines per day. I've oversimplified this, but perhaps you get the gist. I'm always a bit puzzled when someone calls our office and asks, “Excuse me, but are you on deadline?”

Certainly we are on deadline, working year-round to bring AFP to readers. But there's more than that going on behind the scenes. We also develop products and services related to AFP, and we participate in major meetings and functions of the American Academy of Family Physicians. We represent AFP at the publications division booth on the exhibit hall floor at the AAFP Annual Scientific Assembly, the National Conference for Family Practice Residents and Student Members, the Annual Leadership Forum, and other meetings. We travel to professional meetings to keep current in the field of medical publishing. And we have semi-annual meetings with AFP editor, Jay Siwek, M.D., to plan editorial content and editorial policies.

This year the first two days of August were reserved for AFP's annual editorial board meeting. AFP's medical and professional editors met at the Leawood editorial office to discuss, among other topics, evidence-based medicine (EBM) in AFP. Margaret Gourlay M.D., AFP's exiting medical editing fellow, led a discussion on EBM. The fellowship has now been passed on to Chuck Carter, M.D., who also attended the meeting after an orientation at the AAFP headquarters.

What this all means is that we are working hard to provide readers with clinical updates containing recommendations based on the best available evidence. If you have another special request that may end up on next year's editorial calendar, we would like to hear from you (

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