A Discussion with Christine Laine, MD, MPH, FACP, Editor-in-Chief of Annals of Internal Medicine

Medical | Christine Laine, MD, MPH| July 09, 2020

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Gain insight into one of the most influential medical journals, Annals of Internal Medicine, from Editor-in-Chief Christine Laine, MD, MPH, FACP.

Established in 1927, Annals of Internal Medicine is recognized as the most cited general medicine journal in the world. The journal offers the latest content to inform the practice of medicine — including new research, evidence reviews, practical articles on the management of patients with common clinical conditions, commentary on topical and controversial issues and summaries of the latest evidence for internal medicine from other clinical journals.

Curating vital, quality content every week is no easy task, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when evidence and data are delivered at a rapid pace. Annals editor Christine Laine, MD, MPH, FACP, recently shared how the journal is produced and how its editors are handling the massive amounts of research produced during the pandemic.

How has Annals solidified itself as one of the most influential medical journals? What sets it apart from other internal medicine journals?

Annals of Internal Medicine has a very rigorous review process that involves external review by individuals with expertise on the work being considered for publication, and internal review by a dedicated staff of physicians and statistical editors. Authors who seek publication in Annals receive detailed feedback to improve their work prior to publication and we aim for this feedback to be constructive and collaborative. When we send authors the reviews for papers we are considering for publication, we offer them the opportunity to schedule a teleconference with the physician and statistician editors handling their manuscripts to discuss the requested revisions. You can hear authors’ perspectives of the Annals peer review process.

This process results in the publication of journal content that is both highly relevant to the practice of medicine and methodologically robust.

What is the protocol for finding new research/reviews of evidence and managing patients with common clinical conditions?

Except for the In the Clinic and Beyond the Guidelines sections of the journal, Annals does not solicit original research or review articles, but selects from a large number of submitted manuscripts. Of course, our editors attend professional meetings, browse research registries such as PROSPERO and ClinicalTrials.gov, and encourage people doing work of relevance to our readers to consider Annals as a venue for their work when they are ready to publish.

Do Annals writers/researchers work with specific hospitals/labs to collect this information? Can any lab/hospital reach out to get involved?

All are welcome to submit their work to Annals of Internal Medicine if they have work that they believe is relevant to our readers and of similar methodological quality to the work that typically appears in the journal. Authors who are uncertain if their work is appropriate for Annals should contact us. While we cannot give assurance of a favorable editorial decision before formal review, we are happy to let authors know if their work is generally appropriate for the journal.

What are some popular topics/conditions covered by Annals?

Popular journal features include “Annals: In the Clinic” reviews and “On Being a Doctor” essays (essays, poems, and videos that illuminate the art and science of medicine). Our readers also look to Annals for high-quality systematic reviews and clinical guidelines.

How can medical and academic institutions benefit from access to Annals and its print and online resources?

Annals of Internal Medicine’s mission is to promote excellence in medicine, enable physicians and other healthcare professionals to be well-informed members of the medical community and society, advance standards in the conduct and reporting of medical research, and contribute to improving the health of people worldwide.

To achieve this mission, the journal publishes a wide variety of original research, review articles, practice guidelines, and commentary relevant to clinical practice, health care delivery, public health, health care policy, medical education, ethics and research methodology. In addition, the journal publishes personal narratives that convey the feeling and the art of medicine. Medical and academic institutions can benefit from providing their students and faculty with easy access to this information and its many associated educational features.

How has Annals adapted to an online-driven society, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic?

For many years, our publisher (American College of Physicians), has identified Annals.org, the electronic version of the journal, as the journal of record. Most content is published online then subsequently archived in a dated/print issue. We also have many “web-only” and multimedia features that expand and supplement the traditional article content. You can see some of these features on our multimedia page. In addition to our new content alerts, readers can register to receive Annals for Educators or Annals for Hospitalist alerts that provide highlights of recent content useful in teaching and to people who practice hospital medicine.

What type of COVID-19 medical research is proving to be helpful to clinicians and what can libraries, universities and organizations do to better support the informational needs of researchers during the pandemic?

Organizations should ensure their researchers have access to journals with rigorous peer review and publication processes so they can trust the quality of published literature. While the explosion of opportunities to post un-vetted research on pre-print and social media sites can speed the delivery of material to researchers, clinicians, and the public, COVID-19 has provided many examples of how the broad distribution of clinically directive research before peer review can create noise, confusion, premature (and potentially dangerous) action on questionable findings.

If your library is interested in learning more about obtaining a site or print license of Annals of Internal Medicine, or want to receive more information, please click learn more below.

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Christine Laine, MD, MPH

Christine Laine, MD, MPH, is a Professor of Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, in the Division of Internal Medicine at Jefferson Medical College, Editor in Chief of Annals of Internal Medicine and a Senior Vice President at the American College of Physicians.

Dr. Laine graduated summa cum laude, with a double major in biology and writing, from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. She received her medical degree from State University of New York at Stony Brook and completed residency training in internal medicine at The New York Hospital (Cornell University) and a fellowship in general internal medicine and clinical epidemiology at Beth Israel Hospital (Harvard University). Dr. Laine earned her Master of Public Health degree, with a concentration in quantitative methods and clinical epidemiology, from Harvard University.

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