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This month we have published an anonymous contribution warning of a bleak future for UK paediatric clinical research. As editors we are already feeling the draught. Some senior academics refuse our request to review papers; one told us that his institution disparaged such work as unproductive for the department. Invitations to write commissioned articles are often declined or may even go unanswered. We do not know if this is because of pressure of work or whether it reflects a change in priorities.
Potentially more damaging is the reluctance of some members of the college whose journal we edit to submit papers. Rather than present their findings to the audience which should benefit most, they may be deflected by the need to amass more points for the research assessment exercise.
We remain optimistic, however. The Archives of Disease in Childhood is the highest rated European paediatric journal with an impact factor that is rising year on year. We continue to receive a large number of original scientific papers, such that we can afford to be selective in publishing only the best 30%.
Perhaps our anonymous contributor can take heart from the fact that a healthy journal reflects healthy science.
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