ACP History: Annals of Internal Medicine (Part Four) 1973 - 1986

Dr. Edward Huth had become Assistant Editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine in 1960 and Associate Editor in 1965. When he became Editor in 1971 he continued his predecessors' commitment to excellence while bringing his unique literary flair for writing to the journal. Dr. Huth would in time become the leading expert on "style and structure" in medical writing, eventually publishing four books on the subject, including the Style Manual for the Council of Biology Editors. He also played a central role as a member of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, for the creation of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (URM) in 1979. The URM standardizes the ethics, preparation and formatting of manuscripts submitted for publication by biomedical journals. URM is followed by over 1100 scientific journals and the National Library of Medicine.

Annals' 50th Anniversary in 1977 ushered in a period of technological and editorial development. Editorial staff began to verify the bibliographic references of all submitted articles for accuracy by examining the original source material. In July 1978 Dr. Huth appointed Associate Editors to aid in the selection and review of materials to be published in the journal. Annals also began complying with Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. By 1979 the Editor had also added a statistician to the staff and had a computer database created to list all eligible individuals available to review manuscripts. This database grew to 3500 reviewers by 1982. In 1984 Annals' Editors began having bibliographic references verified on-line by MEDLINE. The College also reached an agreement to allow Bibliographic Retrieval Services (BRS) on-line access to full text of Annals articles.

ACP continued its lawsuit against the U.S. Federal Government attempting to recover taxes paid by the College on Annals advertising revenue. In 1977 the Claims Court held that the advertisements were not substantially related to the organization's tax-exempt purpose and that the income was therefore taxable. On petition the Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the ruling, stating that the advertisements helped to educate the journal's readers and were therefore substantially related. On January 21, 1986 the case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously held that the advertisements in this particular case were not "substantially related" to the medical journal's educational purposes. As a result, the College had to pay taxes on the profits it earns from the advertisements in Annals. This landmark case is often referenced in law school classes throughout the United States. This ruling has affected all journals published by nonprofit organizations.

-Prepared July 2012 by Eric Greenberg, based on materials from the Archives of the American College of Physicians and, Rosenow EC Jr. History of the American College of Physicians: Executive Perspectives, 1959-1977. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians; 1984. Huth EJ, van Steenburgh KC. "Annals of Internal Medicine: the first 50 years." Ann Intern Med. 1977; 87:103-10, and Huth EJ, Case K (2002). Annals of Internal Medicine at Age 75: Reflections on the Past 25 Years". Ann Intern Med 137 (1): 34-45.