What’s happening with AVMA’s journals?

Published on April 04, 2022
Two veterinarians looking at a computer

A transformation is underway for AVMA’s scientific journals. Innovations like online-first publishing, once-a-month delivery of JAVMA, and open access to AJVR are redefining how AVMA members and readers stay abreast of scientific discovery.

These changes are being driven by input from AVMA members, subscribers, and authors, and guided by Editor-in-Chief Dr. Lisa Fortier. Here, Dr. Fortier outlines the changes in process and her vision for the future.

Can you explain how – and why – the journals are adjusting the way they communicate information?  
Dr. Lisa A. Fortier

The way we access and consume information has changed drastically in the last decade. As readers, we’re shifting more and more to digital content. Information can reach us almost instantaneously, and we can access it online whenever we want, from devices we carry with us at all times. Digital publishing also carries a lower environmental footprint than print. 

At the same time, numerous surveys of AVMA journal readers tell us that printed publications continue to have immense value within our profession. That isn’t limited only to scientific journals.  I think some people value a different type of engagement with print versus digital. It’s the hands-on feeling, dog-earing articles of interest, giving yourself a rest from screen time, and the ease of sharing a print publication with colleagues. 

The AVMA journals are committed to providing both the content and reading experience that subscribers are looking for. We also share our readers’ concerns about the environmental impacts of print publishing. We want to do our part for the environment while still providing a valuable member benefit.

Our approach balances these priorities. We’re embracing digital publishing fully, while continuing to offer readers the benefits of a printed journal. The journals have shifted our publishing model to digital-first. We’re publishing news and scientific findings online as soon as possible, while reducing the number of paper journals we print and mail. 

What specific changes are coming for journal readers? 

One big change is rolling out now: Starting in April, we’ll be publishing JAVMA once a month instead of twice. 

We’re publishing news and scientific findings online as soon as possible, while reducing the number of paper journals we print and mail.

That doesn’t mean a reduction in the amount of content or less variety of content in JAVMA. We’ll have exclusive online-only content on the new journals’ website, as well as the articles that go up online before they appear in print. We’ve also started bringing supplemental issues to readers twice a year. The first of these was Surgery in Your Practice in January, and we’ll bring out Urogenital Health in Your Patients in June. 

AVMA’s news reporting also starts online now. You can see the latest breaking information in our digital newsroom, avma.org/News, and still enjoy curated AVMA News articles in your print JAVMA. 

One change that I’m especially excited to share is that AJVR will be an open-access, online-only journal starting in June. This means the world-class standard that AJVR research is known for will be open and accessible to all AVMA members and other healthcare professionals. This is a big shift, and it means more research being released at a faster rate to a broader audience. It also means we can better serve our authors and contributors.  

Will there be changes to the type of content in the journals? What can readers expect moving forward?

Our updates to the journals have been planned carefully and viewed holistically from multiple perspectives, from our readership to our contributors to our staff. Some changes are very subtle – For example, we now feature more of the JAVMA cover artist’s work by extending the image all the way to the edge. Others are more noticeable, such as making JAVMA News more compact, sharing news highlights in print while pushing more urgent breaking news out in a digital format via AVMA News.

We’re really focusing on providing practical learning that’s needed and applicable in clinical practice.

Overall, we’re really focusing on providing practical learning that’s needed and applicable in clinical practice. Readers will find a broader range of research topics covering all areas of veterinary practice, with an emphasis on practical learning and hands-on applications. Our special supplemental issues also will present practical research that clinical practitioners can apply immediately in caring for patients

Another priority is creating a forum for dialog that supports One Health. “Currents in One Health” launched in the March issues of the journals. It’s a monthly feature article focused on cross-species, cross-discipline approaches at the intersection of veterinary medicine, human medicine, and the environment. It appears in both JAVMA and AJVR, with complementary practice- or research-focused content.

As you can see, much of this work has already begun. Readership feedback on the changes already made has been fantastic. I see some amazing opportunities for these journals – particularly in the way AVMA members can utilize and implement new information in daily practice. 

Can you share any other changes in the works?

We are working on a collaboration with AVMA Axon®, the Association’s digital education platform. We’d like to connect journal articles with continuing education and lifelong learning opportunities. There’s a wealth of information, suitable for all interests, available in these journals. Sharing that knowledge via Axon is a great way to bring it to more veterinary professionals. 

On a personal note, what appealed to you most in deciding to undertake management of JAVMA and AJVR? 

Readership feedback on the changes already made has been fantastic.

I’m really drawn to the 100-plus-year history of these scientific publications. They capture the history of our profession, the development of research advances, and how veterinary medicine has influenced all areas of society.

I’m excited to bring my experience and knowledge as a practicing veterinarian and published researcher to the table, and make a lasting impact on the vital role these journals play in the veterinary profession. I’m working with a stellar team of reporters, writers, and editors at the AVMA, and I look forward to continuing the tradition of these publications. 


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