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It’s time to say goodbye. Five years on from the start of my term as Editor-in-Chief at what was then the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare,1 this journal has undergone significant change, the effects of which are yet to be seen fully. I do, however, hope and believe that the changes made have been an investment in the journal’s future scientific standing and international reach.
Most visible of the modifications has perhaps been the journal’s change of name to BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health.2 By strengthening our partnership with the BMJ Publishing Group, and including the BMJ name in its title, we believe we have strengthened the journal’s brand. Science is inherently international, and many of the biggest challenges to sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH) are determined beyond national boundaries. Clinicians and researchers within and beyond the UK are now invited to see clearly our connection with a publisher whose name is an international byword for scientific quality. And at a time when nationalism and internationalism are fighting it out in the political arena, we have chosen to try and build a bridge between the best of both.
Equally important at this time of change has been an appreciation and development of our firm roots in the UK SRH community. We have continued to collaborate closely with the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), the journal’s co-owner, on many individual articles, including publishing FSRH guidelines in the journal.3 4
In parallel we have internationalised both our Editorial Board, and the journal’s language and content. Two Social Media Editors have during the last 4 years each transformed our social media presence, and more recently we appointed a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Editor and have worked as a wider team on developing policy and practice around patient involvement.5 We have also increased commissioning activity, markedly increased our international lay media coverage with the help of the BMJ press office, and campaigned on abortion law reform.6 7
My editorship has focussed closely on internationalisation, brand strengthening with a view to growing scientific influence, media visibility, and patient centredness. I have been richly supported by a dilligent and generous group of experts who comprise our Editorial Board and International Editorial Board. Some have been part of sharing the debate around SRH in the UK for many years. Others have come in to help us develop in new more international directions. All are inspirational leaders in our field. I thank each of them, sincerely, for their loyal support, challenge, hard work and dedication(figure 1).
Two people have played a quite inestimable part in the quality of this journal over many years. These are Janie Foote, who was Managing Editor of this journal until September 2018, and David Horwell, Advisory Editor, and twice acting Editor-in-Chief of this journal. Both have worked with dedication and passion for the journal’s quality, at all hours of the day and night. Both are skilled editors with a deep knowledge of, and commitment to, our field. And both held the journal together at a moment of crisis after the sudden death of its previous editor, Anne Szarewski. This journal owes David and Janie a great debt. I offer them both my heartfelt thanks on my own, and the journal’s, behalf.
Its has been a privilege to edit this journal.In my own life, exciting new challenges have coincided with a time of change in our team structure, meaning that the time seems right to move on. I am delighted to be handing the journal over to Professor Sharon Cameron, who is both a outstanding international researcher in our field and a longstanding leader within the FSRH itself (figure 2). Sharon is is uniquely qualified to strengthen the journal yet further. I relinquish the journal’s editorship to her with great confidence, and the warmest wishes for her and her future team.
Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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