BJOG Exchange

DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.12860

Britannia rules?

Further on Britannia Rules

Sir, BJOG goes from strength to strength and still is an excellent read, even for a long past editor who retired from the UK’s National Health Service 18 years ago. As such, I always enjoy the erudite ‘Editor’s Choice’. But the title ‘Britannia rules’ caught my eye, as did the statement that BJOG came into existence at the apex of the era when ‘the sun never set on the British Empire’.1 That is, strictly speaking, not quite true. Our journal, unlike the leopard, changed its spots several times in the 112 years of its existence. It started as the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the British Empire in 1902. In 1961, the British Empire part of the title morphed to British Commonwealth. And in 1975, because several of the Commonwealth countries were involved in their own specialist journals, the Journal Committee and College Council chose British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology as a new title.2 The latest, elegant and acronymic title BJOG arrived in recent years and, strictly speaking, long after the sun had set on the British Empire. A small matter, but may I be forgiven for raising it. And may BJOG, with its interesting heritage, continue with its meteoric rise in the citation index. &

References 1 Thorp J. BJOG Editor’s Choice. 2014;121:1. 2 Loeffler FE. A change of title. 1975;82:1.

F Loeffler Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK Accepted 24 January 2014. DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.12860


Sir, The name of this journal changed from the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology to BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the year 2000. This change was partly a consequence of electronic publication, which made the journal more accessible throughout the world. The new title conveyed the idea that although the journal was founded in the UK, its concept was international. In this change we followed the example of the British Medical Journal, which changed its name to BMJ. To reinforce our international aspirations we instituted an International Editorial Board, consisting of a panel with representation throughout the world, which acted as a valuable source of referees, writers of editorials and, in general, opinion. After my term of office expired the development of BJOG for a worldwide audience has been vigorously pursued by my successors. JM Grant Retired from Wishaw General Hospital, Wishaw, Lanarkshire, UK Accepted 6 March 2014. DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.12861

Editor-in-Chief’s reply: BJOG since 1902

Sir, Dr John Thorp’s ‘Editor’s Choice’ of January 2014 led two of our ex Editors-in-Chief to shed light on our journal’s previous names. Their gentle correction provides an example of the obsessional attention to detail journal

ª 2014 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

editing demands, and gave us the perfect excuse to look more deeply into our history. BJOG has been around for over a century, and has evolved over time to become one of the leading women’s health journals in the world. In its first issue in 1902, the editor announced ‘a considerable portion of each number will be set aside for abstracts of the writings of. . .foreign authorities. . .thus the actual condition of obstetrics and gynaecology at home and abroad may be compared, and the reader will be kept acquainted with the valuable research constantly in progress. . .’. Today this objective is a key priority for the journal, and is reflected in its submissions and in its output. In 2013, 77% of our papers were from authors outside of the UK, and 74 different countries were represented. The only guaranteed way to extinction is through refusal to change. Believe it or not, name can sabotage success.1 Having changed its name on four occasions since inception is simply a reflection of how the journal has successfully adapted to changing circumstances. It is this relentlessness that is the driving force behind BJOG’s work ethic. We will be highlighting our history through our BJOG since 1902 series in the coming months. &

Reference 1 Nelson LD, Simmons JP. Moniker maladies: when names sabotage success. Psychol Sci 2007;18:1106.

K Khan Editor-in-Chief, BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Accepted 30 March 2014. DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.12862


Britannia rules?

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