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Makeover Opportunity

The coming change in leadership at the New England Journal of Medicine offers a chance to shake up the journal, write Retraction Watch's Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky, at Stat News.

Jeffrey Drazen, who has been the editor-in-chief of NEJM for 18 years, announced last week that he would be retiring within a year, after a replacement is found. "This is the right time for a transition in leadership as the Journal looks toward the future," Drazen said in a statement.

Indeed, Marcus and Oransky say that the journal's next editor will have to grapple with relatively new issues in medical publishing such as preprints, data sharing, and a decline in print subscribers, as well as immediate concerns swirling around how to handle conflicts of interest.

It also presents an opportunity for NEJM to re-invent itself, they say. The BMJ's former editor, Richard Smith, tells Marcus and Oransky that the journal should shift from delivering mostly research studies, as other avenues for doing so have developed, to stimulating debate and setting agendas. Likewise, ASAPBio's Jessica Polka adds that it should support preprinting and transparency in peer review.