On April 15 and 16, 2007, a strategic planning meeting of the Associate Editors took place to address two questions: what will characterize the successful journal of the future and how can CHEST become that journal?
Before beginning our deliberations, we reaffirmed our guiding principle that what is most important is to provide our readers what they expect and need.1– We also sought to determine how well the changes we instituted in January 2006 have been perceived2 by reviewing a survey of a random sample of clinical pulmonologists. The survey was conducted in 2006 by an independent media research firm, The Matalia Group, Inc (Kulpsville, PA), that studied the responses of 1,200 pulmonologists randomly selected from the membership roster of the American Medical Association. The questionnaire was self-administered without showing any cover photographs of specific publications or suggesting publication titles, and respondents were asked to write in their top journal choice in a variety of categories. Based on a response rate of 21.3%, the results showed that CHEST was the No. 1 choice in (1) readership reach, (2) being essential to their practice, (3) providing useful reviews, and (4) time devoted to reading. While we are cognizant of the inherent limitations of surveys in general, the results of the survey were consistent with the interpretation that we have been on the right track, and they empowered us to think expansively about the future.