From a Silver Lining to the Silver Anniversary: 25 Years of the Journal of Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology

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This year, the Journal reaches an important milestone, its 25th year as a medical publication. This occasion provides us an ideal opportunity to reflect on the current state of bronchology and interventional pulmonology as a field, on the progress we have seen over the past quarter century, as well as on the inevitable evolution ahead, as we continue to experience growth, maturation, and innovation within the specialty. Together with bronchoscopists around the world, we celebrate this silver anniversary, and invite colleagues everywhere to explore and reflect on the rich and growing heritage of this field and its chief publication, as we continue to advance into the future.
In January 1994, when the Journal was first published, about 1000 copies were printed for distribution to an estimated readership of perhaps 200 bronchoscopists (the rest went to libraries). The cutting edge technology of the day included fiberoptic flexible bronchoscopes, silicone stents, and Nd:YAG laser. Few, if any, thought of bronchoscopy as an independent field, and some may have questioned why a dedicated journal to publish and document the advancing scholarship of such a small specialty niche was needed. Challenges facing practitioners interested in advanced and interventional bronchoscopy at that time were many, some similar to our challenges today and some inherent to the fledgling phase of a nascent specialty. Procedure-related infections were a huge concern, as were challenges related to maintaining the fragile fiberoptic equipment. There were many questions and conflicting opinions about the proper way to train the next generation of bronchoscopists. Easily, the biggest concern was the lack of a published body of literature to guide bronchoscopy practice, a deficiency that was especially conspicuous in an era when evidence-based medicine was becoming a buzzword in every medical specialty.
By 2003, when Atul Mehta assumed the helm as editor-in-chief, 1250 copies of the Journal rolled off the presses each quarter for distribution to a readership that numbered around 400. In 2011, the Journal was published online for the first time, which increased its reach and availability to readership worldwide who had not had access to the printed version before. The published copies, platforms, readership, and impact of the Journal continued to grow. Along with this growing success came some growing criticism, as some questioned the Journal’s future after 3 unsuccessful attempts to be recognized by the National Library of Medicine by indexing in MEDLINE.
In 2012, the Journal marked one of its most significant leaps forward when it was indexed in MEDLINE, meaning that articles published in the Journal, not only from that time forward but also going back to 2009, when the Journal’s current name—The Journal of Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology—was adopted, would be searchable and retrievable in MEDLINE.1 This step signaled an important coming of age for the Journal, as it was accepted in the mainstream of medical publications, and given the stature of a respected scientific journal with significant value and impact to the health care world at large. No longer were papers published in the Journal discoverable only to those focused specialists who were regular readers. Content published in the Journal was thereafter much more available to all who access the medical literature, and the rates at which Journal articles were accessed and cited increased dramatically. This major step for the journal was rightly seen as a victory for the field of bronchology, as it placed the scholarship, evidence base, and expertise of the specialty before a much wider audience, who began to develop a greater appreciation for the role of bronchoscopy in medical practice.
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