A&R will begin 2014, its 57th year of publication, with a new name. As of the January issue, Arthritis & Rheumatism will become Arthritis & Rheumatology. Changing the name of the journal has been considered on and off since 1989, when the American Rheumatism Association became the American College of Rheumatology. Now, the organization believes the time is right to change the title of this renowned journal.
Joan Bathon, MD, editor-in-chief of A&R, notes that, “even in 1934, when the organization was founded, and in 1958, when the first issue of the journal was published, the meaning of the word ‘rheumatism’ was imprecise. Now it is not only imprecise, but obsolete.”
The word still exists in Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, but its definition does not remotely reflect or resemble the complexity and range of conditions rheumatologists study and treat. The listing in Stedman’s 28th ed., reads: “Rheumatism: 1. Obsolete term for rheumatic fever. 2. Indefinite term applied to various conditions with pain or other symptoms of articular origin or related to other elements of the musculoskeletal system.” Most of the international leagues against rheumatism have changed the meaning of “LAR” in their names to league of associations for rheumatology.
All ACR members know A&R, and they consistently rate the journal as one of the top benefits of membership. With the growing number of journals in the field and the challenges, evolution, and competitiveness of medical publishing, it is important to look ahead and ensure that both A&R and Arthritis Care & Research remain easily recognizable as leaders in the field worldwide, to nonmembers as well as members. The names of both journals need to resonate and have meaning for new members and for those who are considering entering the field of rheumatology. “The new name of A&R is emblematic of our evolution to a molecular- and mechanism-based approach to understanding and treating patients with rheumatic diseases,” says Gary S. Firestein, MD, chair of the ACR Committee on Journal Publications.
The A&R cover will be modified to incorporate the new name. This provides a good opportunity to further redesign the cover and embrace a more contemporary appearance.
In multiple targeted surveys conducted in 2012, various possible new names for the journal were vetted, including some that were radically different from the current one. In the end, it was decided to only replace rheumatism with rheumatology, so the name would reflect our focus but wouldn’t potentially create the misconception that this is a new, just-starting-out journal. The PubMed abbreviation won’t change much (“Arthritis Rheum” will likely become “Arthritis Rheumatol”). And, importantly, with the new name, we will still be A&R!