Interview with Professor Roger Jones

Professor Roger Jones is a GP, a professor of general practice, and editor of the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP).

Professor Roger Jones is a GP, a professor of general practice, and editor of the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP).

At some stage I decided medicine would be just as interesting.

My father was a journalist but I never felt any pressure to become a journalist, even when I was questioning whether I should change to read English at Oxford. He was adamant that I should continue my medical studies. My son is a science writer and as I am an editor, an interest in all things literary is undoubtedly genetic.

I studied renal medicine for 4 years at hospital but did not enjoy the hospital system or the career structure. I believed general practice offered more scope for variety. I became a GP in Andover, Hampshire and as I was interested in renal and gastro medicine at hospital I persuaded a pharma company to donate an endoscope for an open access endoscopy service, to offer an extra service to patients.

I’m very proud of the BJGP which has gone from strength to strength. We held our first research conference in March which was a great success and has buoyed my interest in our current work even further.

Editing the Journal is pretty much a full-time job and there are lots of spin-offs, giving talks about peer review, and writing for publication, for example, but it is immensely satisfying. We receive a healthy stream of good-quality papers which is fantastic – so many submissions in fact that we created our new online, open access journal, BJGP Open. I believe this will become a great journal in its own right and help to bring primary care information to corners of the globe which might not have adequate access to data or training.

It is particularly rewarding to see papers picked up and covered in national media. Our contributors are grateful that their ideas have been more widely disseminated.

Luckily we don’t generally have a problem with authors meeting deadlines. However, I previously edited the Oxford Textbook of Primary Medical Care with over 400 contributing authors. The excuses for late submissions were very entertaining – it seems people are very unlucky with their manuscripts when the deadline is looming.

We have a more digital focus and social media is key. This is interesting for me as I do not own a smartphone and am grateful for the lack of disturbance! I have a phone that I use simply for text messages and the odd phone call.

The Journal is one of the key features of membership of the Royal College of GPs and over 50,000 members receive a hard copy – many of us prefer to receive a tangible copy of magazines rather than another email which can be lost in the inbox.

We also have the online version and will look to expand across digital platforms with an increasing awareness of the need for tailor-made content and personalisation.

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