Dutch Journal for Dermatology and Venereology

In the late 1980s, the Board of the Dutch Society for Dermatology and Venereology (NVDV) came up with the idea of creating a journal for the members of the NVDV. Dr. Jannes van Everdingen was asked to investigate the possibilities. At that time there were two dermatology periodicals, the Bulletin Contact Dermatoses and Psoriasis News. The Bulletin flourished at that time because of many publications from the Contact Dermatoses Committee, especially related to my PhD research. In March 1989, for example, a 'Special Kathon CG' was published in this journal, which was sponsored by Glaxo BV (to which company I had sold several hundred copies of my dissertation). Johan Nater (professor in Groningen) was the first editor; other members of the editorial team were Jan Bos (later a professor at the AMC Amsterdam), Derk Bruynzeel (later a professor of occupational dermatology at the VU Medical Center Amsterdam) and Anton de Groot, who would remain in his own private practice forever.

It was intended that the Bulletin would merge into the new journal (which would be named: Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Dermatologie en Venerelogie [NTDV]; in English Dutch Journal for Dermatology and Venereology), so Van Everdingen contacted the Bulletin's editors. The Contact Dermatoses Committee, the main gremium behind the Bulletin (all members of the editorial board and the editorial advisory committee were also members of the Committee) was consulted on this matter. At that time I had already been chairman of the Committee for 5 years, and would remain so until 1999. We had no objection to discontinuing our Bulletin in favour of a new journal for the NVDV, but we would very much appreciate (read: we insisted) that the editor-in-chief of the Dutch Journal for Dermatology and Venereology would be recruited from the ranks of the Contact Dermatoses Committee. That was fair, we thought (read: me), because we had the most successful periodical. I also had a candidate in mind for the position – guess three times – myself. This was accepted unanimously in the Committee and the Board of the NVDV had no objection to it, after all I had gained a good reputation in the previous years.

The foundation

There is a lot of work involved in setting up a journal, so a group of 4 was formed to further develop Jannes' concept, make preparations, find a publisher (sponsor) and literally and figuratively shape the journal. Members of this group were Jannes van Everdingen himself (who would later become director of the NVDV), Peter van de Kerkhof (who shortly afterwards would become a professor in Nijmegen), Rein Willemze (who was already a professor) and Anton de Groot, who would always remain ………. well, you know that by now. We went to work with much enthousiasm (especially Jannes and I) and found a sponsor in Bugamor Pharma in Almere for at least 3 years. In April 1991 the first issue of the Dutch Journal for Dermatology and Venereology was published. The four of us became the editors-in-chief committee abd the primus inter pares editor-in-chief – not hard to guess – me. Obviously the vain De Groot greatly appreciated a photo in the Colophon.

The editorial team consisted of representatives from the various committees of the NVDV: refresher courses, psoriasis, phlebology/proctology, contact dermatoses, pediatric dermatology, oncology and operative dermatology, and STD (sexually transmitted diseases). We explained how we planned to make the journal succesful in an editorial in the first issue. The Colophon stated that 'basic scientific as well as clinical and practice-oriented aspects of the field are presented'. That basic scientific element was added at the insistence of the two academic dermatologists among us. I saw no point in this for two reasons: 1. the chance that scientists would submit their basic scientific research to a journal like the NTDV seemed almost nil (history shows I was right) and 2. what is the use of basic scientific research for the practicing dermatologist?

Lack of copy?

Prior to the foundation of the NTDV and in the first years of its existence, many colleagues doubted whether the Society, with some 300 members at the time, was large enough to generate sufficient good quality copy. That was indeed not always easy and I sometimes I had to work very hard to get a new issue filled. In the report of the Leo Dermatology Award 2000 (awarded to me), it was described as follows: 'In 1990, Anton founded the Dutch Journal for Dermatology and Venereology together with Jannes van Everdingen. Until the end of 1996 he was its passionate editor-in-chief. For the first few years, the magazine was almost entirely dependent on him. But thanks to his never-ending energy and stubborn perseverance, Anton managed to turn the magazine into a widely respected journal'.

That it almost entirely depended on me was a friendly statement, but not justified. Jannes van Everdingen did a lot of work, especially in the beginning, but I wouldn't be surprised if I've drawn more and more towards me over time (but can't remember). However, I regularly wrote contributions myself and sometimes had to write a new article just to fill the following issue. In total, 33 articles written by me appeared in the period of 5.5 years that I was editor-in-chied (first period).

The red pen of the editor-in-chief

I sometimes jokingly say that as editor-in-chief I was notorious for my red pen. I don't know whether that was already so in the early years, of course I did not want to deter (potential) authors too much with the meager supply of articles I had. I do remember that Jannes and I had made so many corrections and comments to an article by Prof. Van Dijk of the VU, that he was very much insulted and withdrew the manuscript……

Late 1996 I apparently thought it was enough and handed over the baton to Rini Korstanje. 'My' last issue was a thematic magazine about hand eczema, which was very well received and after which I received a number of letters with compliments and congratulations. At that time I could not foresee that about 5 years later I would be called for a second term as editor-in-chief..... 

Farewell words for me from the new editor-in-chief Rini Korstanje

De Groot once more?

My successor, Rini Korstanje, stepped down as editor-in-chief in August 2000 and was in turn succeeded by Jan Gerrit van der Schroeff. He did not last long, but that was because he was asked to become chairman of the Dutch Society for Dermatology and Venereology. He agreed to this, on the condition that a successor would be found for him as editor-in-chief, so that the continuity of the journal would be guaranteed. Various suitable or deemed suitable candidates were asked about becoming editor-in-chief. Without exception, they declined, fearing it would take (too) much time, an entirely understandable  - and absolutely correct - assumption.

To overcome the problem, an unconventional solution was chosen. Former editor-in-chief and co-founder of the Journal Anton C. de Groot got a subtle hint and he took the bait and accepted. In my editorial 'Editorial changing of the guard' (NTDV 2001;11:182-183) I reported good and bad news. The good news was that continuity would be guaranteed from 1-6-2001 to December 2002, I was prepared to act as ad interim editor-in-chief for 1.5 years. The bad news, however, was that the new editor-in-chief 'had been pulled out of the mothballs' and that, although well-experienced, he might not be innovative enough anymore. 


Ad interim lasts 5 years

That of ad interim has not come true, I stayed in office until January 1, 2006. Everything was running smoothly and all members of the editorial team were happy with it and the readers were content, according to questionnaire investigations. I did most of the work myself and on my own, but I can't blame the other editors for that. That was my own choice, because I tend to pull everything to me. I do think (or actually I'm pretty sure) that I made a few people angry during this period, because I now used the red pen liberally. Nevertheless, my successor, Pieter van der Valk, wrote about the period in which I was editor-in-chief for the second time: 'Much has been achieved in the past period. The Journal was included in the index of the Excerpta Medica EMbase, the editorial board was expanded with some young members, new sections were opened, the relationship with authors was professionalized and formalized, authors received accreditation points from the Society, the Journal appeared on the website of the Society, Anton's active acquisition policy resulted in such a stream of articles that the size of the journal is now more often 40 pages than 32 and from 2003 on the magazine appeared in full colour, putting an end to the vague gray illustrations'.

Shortly after my resignation, I was informed that Roland Koopman, the then chairman of the NVDV, during a NVDV meeting had spoken highly of (the quality of) the Journal and the role I had played in it. I thanked him and the Board for their kindness by e-mail. He wrote back: 'I have spoken so many words of praise about you that this should be enough for at least 3 generations, but I have not said anything too much or untrue. And the thunderous applause of the meeting could be heard as far as Zwolle' (where I had another meeting at the same time as the NVDV congress). 

Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Dermatologie en Venereologie available online  

All issues of the Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Dermatologie en Venereologie (Dutch Journal for Dermatology and Venereology) from 2006 (and most from 2005) can be viewed online on the website of the Dutch Society for Dermatology and Venereology.

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