THIS IS THE LAST ISSUE, at least for the near future, of the Archives of Family Medicine (AFM). The difficult decision to cease publication of this journal is based on lack of readership, an insufficient number of quality manuscript submissions, and substantial financial losses.
Since its inception in 1992, AFM has been offered free of charge to family physicians, general practitioners, and primary care doctors of osteopathic medicine. Of the approximately 100 000 physicians who were eligible to receive the journal, less than 20% requested it. For the past 7 years, we have experienced more than $4 million in losses in an attempt to nurture the readership and researchers. Despite a variety of mechanisms to encourage submission of high-quality manuscripts, the journal consistently fell short of accepted pages available.
From my perspective as Editor-in-Chief of Scientific Publications and Multimedia Applications, I believe that the current quantity and quality of scientific research by family physicians is simply not yet sufficient to support 3 research-based family practice journals. Our data have consistently shown that family physicians are more likely to read the Journal of the American Medical Association (and most likely the other 2 research journals sponsored by family physician organizations) than AFM for their scientific needs.
Family medicine is a relatively young and very important specialty, and we should allow it time to develop as other specialties have. The $10 million program instituted by the American Academy of Family Physicians to educate and train family physicians to be researchers as well as clinicians and educators is a laudable initiative that should help insure the advancement of research in the field conducted by family physicians. We are not giving up the name "Archives of Family Medicine," and our hope is that sometime in the future we will be able to reinstate this journal.
Dr Marjorie Bowman has been a wonderful editor who has expended so much of her intellect, creativity, and effort for AFM. I wish to thank her publicly for her superb leadership in the daunting task of getting a research journal off the groundin retrospectbefore its time. I look forward to counting on her wisdom and perspective as a family physician in her role as a member of the JAMA Editorial Board.
My thanks to all of you who have contributed manuscripts and to all readers who have supported AFM over the years.