2012 year in review


2012 was a hugely successful year for BMJ Open. We published four times as many papers as in 2011. Credit for this must go, first and foremost, to the hundreds of reviewers who have given their time to assess manuscripts. We are also grateful that so many authors have chosen to publish with us.

2013 has begun promisingly with the news that Thomson Reuters are now tracking BMJ Open for inclusion in the Web of Science. Indexing begins soon.

We received over 1200 submissions in 2012 and published 654 papers, making a total so far of over 800 papers published since launch. Seventy-nine 2012 papers were protocols, helping promote the transparency in research that comes from publishing research plans in advance of the work being carried out.

Authors from 74 countries submitted their work to us and we accepted papers from 49 countries. Twenty-six studies now have associated datasets in the Dryad repository. The majority of these submissions came straight to BMJ Open. However, authors whose work is turned down by another BMJ Group journal can transfer it to BMJ Open, along with any peer reviewers’ reports, and many have chosen to take advantage of this. We now also have a panel of dedicated statistical reviewers to help expedite review of those papers where a statistical assessment is required.

So we are confident that our proposition – open peer review, open data, open access – is popular with authors, many of whom have published more than once in BMJ Open. Many reviewers, after first-hand experience of the review process from that side, have subsequently submitted papers too.

In September 2012 we launched the BMJ Open Editions – six channels to showcase BMJ Open papers from the key areas of dermatology, HIV/Aids, infectious diseases, neurology, obstetrics & gynaecology and oncology

As our scholarly profile grows, so does our public profile. BMJ Open papers have featured regularly in the news during 2012, and we will be posting about that separately. Of particular note, though, was a paper published in February by Kripke, Langer & Kline, on mortality and cancer risks associated with specific currently popular hypnotics. This paper received almost 50 000 full-text and PDF downloads in 2012 and was the most downloaded paper of the year. All articles have usage statistics available online.

This paper received widespread media coverage and some robust online responses. We would love to see more of this kind of debate in 2013. We welcome e-letters or less formal comment and we always encourage authors to respond. Many of the comments we have received have been perceptive and passionate and one or two have led to us publishing corrections and even to the posting of further data in Dryad – post-publication peer review in action.

2012 was a watershed year for open access, and while it is strongly supported by high-profile grant-awarding institutions, many researchers do not have this backing and cannot pay article-processing charges (APCs). They may be working in countries with severely limited resources, students/early-stage researchers without access to institutional funds, unaffiliated or simply working without a grant.

Despite relying on APCs to run the journal, we still welcome all research and in 2012 waived the publishing fee for over 100 papers. This amounts to over £120 000 of APCs waived. By subsequently submitting papers, many of our reviewers were able to take advantage of the reviewer discount we offer as well.  

Thank you again to our reviewers for their hard work, our authors for placing their trust in BMJ Open, and our editorial board for their support. We look forward to continuing to work with you and many new colleagues in 2013.

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