Brief history of the manual

The first edition of an editorial manual for the AMA's scientific journals appeared in October 1962; it was 68 pages long and was intended primarily as a guide for in-house staff and, secondarily, for authors. It grew slowly but surely: from 90 pages in the second edition, published in 1963, to over 154 pages in the sixth edition, published in 1976. These editions were all published by the AMA and continued to be intended primarily for use by the in-house scientific publications staff, although recognition was growing that authors, as well as editors at other publishers, were using the book as a reference. With the seventh edition, published in 1981 and now at 183 pages, this larger audience was recognized by a change in the book's title to Manual for Authors & Editors and, for the first time, the book was published by an outside publisher (Lange Medical Publications).

With the eighth edition began the current "tradition" of having a committee of 10 professional editors from the staff of JAMA and the Archives Journals responsible for the content, obtaining external peer review on all sections. This edition, published as a hardcover book in 1989 by Williams & Wilkins, was 377 pages long. The growth in the audience is represented by sales of over 33,000 copies. The single greatest area of expansion in this edition was in the area of nomenclature: coverage grew from about 11 pages in the seventh edition to 54 pages. Glossaries of printing and production terms, as well as a resource bibliography, were added. The ninth edition, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins in 1998, saw an even greater expansion in pages and sales: 660 pages and over 44,000 copies. In this edition, the coverage of nomenclature continued to expand (now up to 130 pages), but the largest new areas of expansion were in statistics (from 5 to 60 pages) and ethical and legal considerations (from 9 to 85 pages).

In the 10th edition, published in 2007 by Oxford University Press, the book has continued to grow and it now weighs in at 1032 pages. A new chapter on medical indexes has been added. The Legal and Ethical Considerations chapter has expanded again, from 85 pages to 175 pages; Nomenclature also has continued to expand, from 130 to 247 pages. With the split of the chapter on manuscript preparation into 3 chapters, there is now greater coverage of references (eg, from 15 to 50 examples of electronic reference citation) and visual presentation of data. Throughout the book, there is an increased international scope and recognition of the changes in the scientific publishing field associated with advances in technology, the Internet, and the electronic evolution of writing, editing, and publishing. The index is more detailed (expanded from 19 to 33 pages) and this, combined with the more detailed running heads, should make this larger book easier to use.