It is an enormous privilege becoming the new Editor-in-Chief of the BJUI. As an academic it has been my ultimate dream. Thank you for this exciting opportunity to serve our readers and authors. I also wanted to express my gratitude to our editorial board and reviewers without whom this journal would not exist.
Early one morning during the BAUS annual meeting 2012, I had the great pleasure of having breakfast with John Fitzpatrick. He has done wonders with the BJUI and I wish to thank and congratulate him for his excellent leadership, international collaboration and innovative approach, which has established the journal as a global landmark in urology. I asked him to describe his most important contribution to the BJUI in one word. The answer without hesitation was ‘colour’.
John immediately asked me the same question. With equal conviction I uttered the words that would describe the BJUI in the next 5 years –’the web’.
The other day I made my usual trip to the Guy’s Hospital, King’s College London, library. I love reading the new journals as well as archived copies that are stored on the first floor. I have done so regularly for the last 10 years. On this occasion I requested our friendly librarian to guide me towards the new editions of Science and the N Engl J Med. Rather to my astonishment, she said that the first floor had been shut and there were no paper journals there anymore! Instead she directed me to a computer terminal where I could browse every scientific journal with my college user name and password. It was then that I realised that my own library had stopped subscribing to paper journals. I have since learned that many other libraries have done the same. Libraries and not urologists are the largest subscribers of the BJUI. If they do not want paper journals they are just not going to buy them.
Welcome to the green revolution.
Over the next few years it will be my mission to make the BJUI the most read surgical journal on the web. We have not made the mistake of assuming that this is what all our readers want. Therefore, while we make the transition to the web, the paper version continues, but with a few differences. We will be reducing the number of paper issues to once a month. Our readers have told us that as soon as the first edition comes out of its plastic cover, the next one arrives. This is often rather overwhelming for a busy urologist who may find it challenging to find the important messages. A direct result of reducing the number of volumes is that fewer papers will ultimately be published and the acceptance rate will fall to ~15%. A triage system has been introduced whereby papers that are not felt to be suitable for the new journal are returned immediately to the authors. This is not a reflection of the quality of the papers but reduces wastage of valuable time and allows the articles to be submitted elsewhere without delay.
The BJUI website www.bjui.org has been entirely redesigned and, in keeping with our main mission statement, I have gathered a dedicated new team of enthusiastic innovators. You will notice that unlike other journals we have Associate Editors for innovation, impact, web, social media and design. These are young urologists with unique skills allowing us to deliver the BJUI on an exciting web-based platform that will evolve continuously. I hope you can join us on this journey.
The busy modern surgeon has a short attention span. If we cannot attract them to our key messages within 30 seconds of reaching our landing page, it is unlikely that they will stay there for 3 minutes rather than go elsewhere. Extensive studies and searches on web-based metrics have made these facts obvious to me. These are the realities of modern academic publishing. The web-based journal will have a much wider readership, not just amongst urologists but also other doctors, nurses, students and most importantly patients and their families.
With this in mind we have introduced the ‘article of the week’, almost like the headline news of The Times. If most urologists read just this on their iPads or smart phones, rather than ever even look at the paper version, we have successfully made our point. This month one such article is the updated Partin tables. As a predictive tool, they are important to urologists and patients alike and will allow our readers to counsel patients about the potential outcomes after treatment of their prostate cancer.
Another new feature is the BJUI blog for immediacy, HuffPost style; the days of writing a letter to the editor that gets published a year later are no more. Instead, your opinions will be moderated and appear real time on the website. The debate will be timely, educational and enjoyable.
Social media, especially Twitter, will play an important role in highlighting the most important content and allowing rapid interaction during international meetings. We have engaged the services of a group specialising in social media and I urge you to follow the BJUI on Facebook and Twitter. Who knows ‘tweetations’ might become as important as the impact factor, one day soon.
Finally, I wanted to especially thank Francesco Montorsi for inspiring me during dinner one autumn evening in Milan, where I had been invited to review a European Union grant application. The lesson I learnt from him was humility. As the Editor-in-Chief I always remember an important tale published by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837. ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ describes what happens when a vain king is paraded by two rogue weavers in his invisible new clothes through the streets of his own capital. I hope I will always manage to avoid the ‘emperor syndrome’. My job is to serve our readers and focus above all on the one thing that is of utmost importance to the BJUI – quality.