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Am Fam Physician. 2010;81(4):382

Everyone at AFP is working to take advantage of new technology and make the AFP experience more valuable for readers and authors. We have launched two new online systems to improve AFP—Editorial Manager and a new, improved Web site.

Online Manuscript Submission and Peer Review

In June 2008, AFP launched Editorial Manager, a Web-based manuscript submission and peer review system. As we had expected, when the system first went live, processing slowed down while authors, editors, and reviewers were brought up to speed on new procedures and the system was configured. Within a few months, however, we saw improvements as a result of this initial hard work. After using the system for close to two years, we have realized significant gains in journal office efficiency. Before Editorial Manager, we were hard pressed even to track our review turnaround times—the median time from submission to initial decision. Now we can track turnaround times easily, and we are using the system to track our efforts at improving from our current level—60 days, with many manuscripts below 50 days. We are working toward a goal of bringing our processing time to six weeks or less for all manuscripts.

The system helps our offices to be more efficient, but it also helps us communicate with authors more effectively. We use automatic reviewer reminder reports to keep track of late peer reviews and automatic revision reminders to ensure that revisions are submitted in a timely manner.

Our goal is to not only improve efficiency and shorten turnaround times, but also to improve the quality of articles in AFP. Editorial Manager has helped with this goal by making peer reviewer ratings more accessible. It is now easier to see reviewer ratings and classifications when searching for peer reviewers, so we can target those reviewers most likely to provide valuable feedback for our authors in their areas of expertise.

AFP Online Improvements — A Work in Progress

In December 2009, we launched a new, improved Web site platform. The new site already includes some features the old site didn't have, such as a “Share this page” link that provides an easy way to share an article with colleagues using any of a wide variety of social networking tools. But as it stands, the new site is really just a foundation for what's to come, because the biggest changes we've made so far are enhancements to the site's infrastructure.

The Web site transformation involved converting 10 years of our content into XML format and programming a new database to run things. The XML platform gives us the foundation we need to proceed with other enhancements on our list, and that list is quite long! Some of the features coming in the next few months include the ability to comment on an article and request e-mail alerts on specific topics, and a redesigned home page to help you find what you need more efficiently. We also are working to improve the search function.

One of the most exciting projects is the development of organized collections of articles by topic. These collections will include only articles that have been designated as current and relevant by the AFP medical editors. With so many years of content on the Web site, it is becoming more and more important to facilitate users' access to the best current content. These collections will help readers obtain answers to their clinical questions more easily than ever.

Obviously, all of this takes time. Please be patient as we work to improve the AFP online experience. We'll provide more information as new features are added.

We Welcome Your Feedback

The smooth running of these systems is a continuous learning and improvement process. We welcome feedback from readers, authors, and reviewers on how we can further enhance AFP online and the manuscript submission/review process to meet your needs. Please send your comments and suggestions to

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