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History of Medicine |

Annals of Internal Medicine at Age 75: Reflections on the Past 25 Years

Edward J. Huth, MD; and Kathleen Case, MS
[+] Article and Author Information

Acknowledgments: The authors thank Drs. Robert and Suzanne Fletcher, Frank Davidoff, Hal Sox, Stephen Goodman, Gordon Guyatt, Brian Haynes, and David Sackett for their help with information and perspectives for this history; Meg Phillips, Archivist, ACP–ASIM, for copies of Annals reports; and Margaret Ring Gillock, Assistant Editor, Annals of Internal Medicine, for information on important Annals articles and on editors.

Requests for Single Reprints: Customer Service, American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Huth: 1124 Morris Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010.

Ms. Case: American Association of Cancer Research, Division of Publishing and Communications, 150 S. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106-3483.


Ann Intern Med. 2002;137(1):34-45. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-137-1-200207020-00010
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In its first 75 years, Annals of Internal Medicine evolved from being primarily a vehicle for papers presented at the Annual Session of the American College of Physicians to a journal in which all manuscripts are peer reviewed and decisions to publish are based solely on the editor's view of which papers are most important. This evolution was described in detail in an article published for Annal's 50th anniversary (1). The story of the journal's first 50 years was also the story of the emergence of internal medicine as a discipline; the early Annals editors represented the specialties of the time or internal medicine subspecialties (Aldred Warthin, pathology; Carl Weller, pathology; Maurice Pincoffs, tropical medicine and preventive medicine; Paul Clough, hematology; J. Russell Elkinton, nephrology; and Edward Huth, nephrology). Since 1990, the editors of Annals have been general internists when they became editors (Robert and Suzanne Fletcher, Frank Davidoff, and Harold Sox), with the associate editors representing the internal medicine subspecialties, general internal medicine, and other fields of expertise (Table 1)

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Figures

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Figure 1.
Numbers of manuscripts received.

The values include manuscripts received for supplements.

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Figure 2.
Edward J. Huth, MD, Editor, 1971–1990; Interim Editor, 1994–1995.Annals of Internal MedicineHow to Write and Publish Papers in the Medical SciencesWriting and Publishing in MedicineScientific Style and FormatBritish Medical Journal

Dr. Huth started his career with his predecessor as editor, J. Russell Elkinton, in research on renal acidification function, renal tubular acidosis, potassium metabolism, and other fluid–electrolyte topics. He later drew on his editorial experiences at to produce a guide to medical writing, (1982), now in its third edition as (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1999). He chaired the committees of the Council of Biology Editors that prepared the Council's style manual in its 4th edition (1978) and 6th edition ( , 1994). Huth and editor Stephen Lock were cofounders of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

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Figure 3.
Robert H. Fletcher, MD, and Suzanne W. Fletcher, MD, Editors, 1990–1993.Annals of Internal MedicineClinical Epidemiology: The EssentialsJournal of General Internal MedicineAnnals

The Fletchers are general internists and clinical epidemiologists. Before becoming editors of , they served on the faculties of medicine and epidemiology at McGill Medical School and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where they wrote the first edition of their textbook, (Williams & Wilkins). They were founding editors of , and both served as presidents of the Society of General Internal Medicine. At , they continued their research on the effectiveness of peer review and began work that led to the World Association of Medical Editors, which now has 712 members from 443 journals in 61 countries.

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Figure 4.
Frank Davidoff, MD, Editor, 1995–2001.Annals of Internal MedicineWho Has Seen a Blood Sugar? Reflections on Medical EducationAnnals

Before his editorship of , Dr. Davidoff served as the College's first Senior Vice President for Education. A collection of his essays, , was published by the College in 1996. Earlier in his career, Dr. Davidoff was active in both basic (molecular pharmacology) and clinical research, held several senior clinical appointments, and was a founding member of the Society of General Internal Medicine. During his editorship of , he chaired the Council of Science Editors' Task Force on Authorship and published research on the changes to manuscripts resulting from the peer review and editorial processes.

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Figure 5.
Harold Sox, MD, Editor, 2001–present.Common Diagnostic Tests: Use and Interpretation The New England Journal of Medicine Scientific American MedicineMedical Decision MakingGraduate Education in Internal Medicine: A Resource Guide to Curriculum Development

Before becoming editor, Dr. Sox did clinical research on the application of decision analysis to selecting and interpreting diagnostic tests. He edited (American Coll of Physicians, 1987), served on the editorial board of the , and was an associate editor of . He chaired the department of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School and served as President of the College. He also wrote a textbook, (Butterworth-Heinemann, 1998), and coauthored (American Coll of Physicians, 1997).

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Figure 6.
Average annual paid circulation forAnnals of Internal Medicinefor the past 25 years.

The number of recipients of a journal who can be classified as “paid” must conform to financial auditing rules. This number is usually lower than the actual number of recipients.

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