You asked for some changes … and here they come!

Lisa A. Fortier
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 DVM, PhD, DACVS

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Many of you participated in our recent online survey about your experience as a reader and, where applicable, an author. We are grateful that so many of you took the time to write in specific comments. While I’ll provide a full summary of the survey results in a later editorial, this month I wanted to draw your attention to 3 things you asked for and that we are now implementing.

First, we are identifying JAVMA articles by species. As most readers will know, articles in the print version of JAVMA were historically categorized in the following sections: Small Animal/Exotic/Avian, Equine, Food Animal/Small Ruminant/Ratite/Poultry/Aquaculture, Wildlife/Laboratory Animal, and General. When I took over as Editor-in-Chief, I began choosing articles and organizing them by level of evidence, with those articles of highest evidence in the front of JAVMA, and by admixing articles from different species. I can understand why you as busy veterinarians would like to find articles of interest more quickly than by reading the entire Table of Contents. Your Publications team went back to the drawing board and now, when a reader browses the Table of Contents, the Original Research section will clearly show categorization of each article as Companion Animal, Equine, Food & Farm Animal, Zoological, or General, with the General section addressing topics important to the profession. These category names will appear directly under the starting page number and will consistently display each category by color. Articles will still be organized by level of evidence, but this categorization/coloration will provide you as a reader with 2 means for quickly browsing for the articles most pertinent to your practice.

Second, we are separating Clinical Relevance from Conclusions in the abstract for JAVMA and AJVR. The Conclusions heading in the structured abstract will focus on the main findings in the manuscript, providing only conclusions from the study that are directly supported by the results. For laboratory studies, Clinical Relevance will describe the relevance of the study to veterinary medicine. By separating Clinical Relevance from the Conclusions, we believe readers will be able to much more quickly assess the value of a particular article to their practice. Note that this change will apply only to Original Research articles and will be implemented for manuscripts submitted from May 2024 on. Refer to the updated Instructions for Authors (https://avmajournals.avma.org/page/JAVMA-Original-Research) for details.

Just as a reminder to authors, here are the dimensions of a structured abstract for Original Research in JAVMA or AJVR:

Structured abstract (< 250 words)—includes the following subsections:

  • Objective: state your hypothesis or the purpose for the study.

  • Methods:

    • Animals (or sample): identify the study population, sampling method, inclusion/exclusion criteria (if applicable), setting, and study period.

    • Include the type of intervention(s) and primary outcome(s) (if applicable).

    • Summarize the overarching methodology of the study, including study design (experimental or observational, etc).

  • Results:

    • Summarize the number of participants. If applicable, report the number of animals in each group.

    • For hypothesis-testing studies, report results for primary outcome(s), ideally with estimated effect size(s) and confidence intervals. Include summary data for adverse events. Do not include P values.

    • For descriptive or exploratory studies, provide summary estimates of clinically relevant findings and confidence intervals (if quantitative measures, such as odds, risk, or hazards). Do not include P values.

  • Conclusions:

    • Focus on the main findings in the manuscript.

    • Provide only conclusions of the study that are directly supported by the results.

    • Give equal emphasis to positive and negative findings of scientific merit.

  • Clinical Relevance:

    • In 1 to 2 sentences, state how your study can be applied to clinical medicine.

    • If your study did not involve clinical patients, describe its relevance to veterinary medicine.

As readers, using the structured abstract to preview a paper will save you time and help you select papers to read that support your research or practice.

Third, we are providing you with tools to optimize your use of the journals online. Many of you commented that you need help in getting the most out of the online journals, which, as we’ve described before, are incredibly rich with features. We’re listening, and are in the process of developing an informational online tutorial on using the website (https://avmajournals.avma.org).

Thank you again for your invaluable engagement with your journals. Please feel free to send any feedback or ideas for improvements. We’re listening!

Respectfully,

Lisa A. Fortier DVM, PhD, DACVS

Editor-in-Chief, JAVMA and AJVR

Chief Publications Officer, AVMA

lfortier@avma.org

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