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An update on progress
A year has passed since our last report on progress at OEM1 and two years since our first as a new editorial team.2 The past 12 months have been a period of transition and growth. Over this time the editors and the Publishing Group have formalised a journal development plan in several strands: steps to help authors, by applying downward pressure on turnaround times; steps to benefit the readers, by providing more high quality commentary, discussion, and debate; and steps to offer a wide range of services to the research and occupational medical communities. Some initiatives were freshly introduced in 2005, some have expanded pre-existing programmes, and some are merely forward looking aspirations. Recent progress has been shared with our international Editorial Board. We think that readers will be interested to hear the news too.
SERVICES TO AUTHORS
Submissions to OEM continue to rise (fig 1), although with some levelling off recently. The proportion of peer-review submissions was 80% higher in 2004 than in 2002. Despite this, turnaround times continue to fall (fig 2). This has been achieved because, hand in hand with setting lower acceptance rates (down from 44% in 2002 to 27–30% more recently), we have implemented a policy of rapid rejection for papers that, for one reason or another, are less competitive. Such decisions are typically taken within a week of submission. To a major extent the measure was forced on us by a burgeoning workload and the stress this puts on a limited pool of busy reviewers and a fixed publishing budget and infrastructure; but fortuitously it has helped to lower average response times. Even for reviewed papers, however, there has been …