It is not every week that a journal celebrates being 100 years of age. Last weekend in Oxford the current editorial board and prominent contributors and former officers of the BJS assembled in Oxford to celebrate 100 years of publishing articles on surgery and the science of surgery in that journal.
An editorial meeting was held on the friday morning at the former house of Sir William Osler, one of the most prominent physicians of his generation, to discuss developments of the journal. The business over, the rest of the day was left free and the rain held off long enough to sample some of the delights of Oxford.
In the evening we all embarked North of Oxford to Blenheim Palace for dinner. There was an audible gasp as we were driven through the gates and got a first glimpse of the jaw-droppingly beautiful palace.
After the obligatory champagne, which was English by the way and very good, we were allowed to explore the state rooms of the palace and learn something of the history of the place. During this period it became clear that ours was not to be the only dinner in town that night. There was another table set up with a guest list that was slightly higher rent than ours and this was attested to by the arrival of several helicopters and the attendance of many protection officers slightly later.
We retired to the beautiful Orangery for our dinner and were treated to a wonderful dinner accompanied by excellent wines selected by James Garden. After dinner speeches were mercifully brief with the highlight probably being that of Sir David Carter who was exhumed for the occasion (his words not mine)!
The following day was the BJS Centenary Symposium which was held at the University of Oxford Medical Sciences Teaching Centre. This was an excellent symposium with some very carefully considered and planned lectures. We heard how the journal which started as a somewhat parochial and imperialist British Journal of Surgery has become a truly international journal, now operating under the title “BJS”. The symposium looked not only backward but also to the future and I particularly enjoyed the talks from Dr Rob Madoff (no relation to the other Madoff) from Minneapolis on “Surgical Research and its impact” and Professor Sir Muir Gray on “Knowledge Management”.
The evening was given over to another dinner but this time in the beautiful setting of Christchurch College. Prior to the dinner the majority of the group attended Christchurch Cathedral for evensong to listen to the fabulous choristers. I particularly enjoyed watching the little ones messing about and trying to escape the beady eye of their conductor.
After an uplifting evensong we were treated to dinner in Christchurch College Hall which apart from being famous in its own right was also the location where the banquet at the end of the first Harry Potter movie was filmed.
The weekend was truly amazing and I feel very privileged to be a member of the Editorial board of the BJS. We were undoubtedly spoilt by the BJS Society (thank you James Garden), but I am reliably informed that subscriptions will not need to rise and this will (probably) not happen again for another hundred years. As a final piece of perfect planning ISI Thomson announced that the impact factor of the BJS (loose measure of quality of a journal) had increased further to 4.84 and that of its main rival had fallen by a full point!