This issue of the Annals is the first of Volume 30, marking three decades of publication in service to the local and regional medical community. Initially intended as a vehicle for publishing the medical experiences of physicians at King Faisal Specialist Hospital, the journal has grown to become one of the most important general medical journals, not only in the Middle East, but throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and Asia, with manuscripts submitted from all over the world. Our new entry on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annals_of_Saudi_Medicine) tells more about the founding and history of the Annals.
One of the most significant achievements was the remarkable increase in the Impact Factor, the most widely used measure of progress of a publication. For 2008, it nearly doubled again from the previous year. The Annals now has by far the highest Impact Factor in the region. Since we have made no attempt to artificially increase the Impact Factor, we believe this increase is due solely to continuing improvement in the importance of articles we publish, which is a reflection of the efforts of all involved in the publication of the journal. Of the nearly 1000 manuscripts submitted to the Annals each year, about 13 to 15 percent pass the rigorous peer review process and are accepted for publication.
Another important development in the past year is the conversion to use of a combination manuscript management and electronic publishing system using the services of Medknow Publications. We believe use of this system will help to streamline the peer review and production processes to speed up the time to first decision and time to publication. Our turnaround time continues to be comparable or even better than many reputable journals with a mean submission to first decision time of 31 days.
At this juncture, I am planning to move for an extended period of time to another institution outside the country for academic reasons. With this move, I have to pass the baton to another colleague who will certainly lead the Annals to continue its noble message. Dr. Mohammed Ahmed is an outstanding clinician/scientist and an expert in endocrinology. I have no doubt that with his leadership and vision and with the support of a group of experts in the Editorial Board and the hard-working and competent editorial staff, the Annals will continue to flourish as the leading journal in this region of the world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the authors, the reviewers, the editorial board and staff who all contributed to make the Annals a publication worth reading. It has been a wonderful challenge to be the Editor-in-Chief of the Annals and a pleasure to serve its readership.
Ali S. Alzahrani, MD