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Scientific progress and related technology move apace, as do the volume and range of information available in the medical and basic scientific literature. Information technology provides access to but not necessarily critical evaluation of a large proportion of such information resources. Sifting the most relevant and highest quality papers from this potential wealth of knowledge generates a significant challenge. Whereas the current publication volume renders comprehensive reading impossible, the selective assessment of high impact journal publications remains the mainstay of academic communication and is essential for maintenance of a vibrant intellectual process for most clinical investigators and scientists.

This month, Arthritis Research & Therapy provides a new approach to highlighting key recent observations through the provision of a literature 'viewpoint'. Recognizing that the mainstream 'arthritis' literature is readily accessible and extensively addressed in the journal in the format of review, commentary and original paper, this section rather will provide a short overview of one or several closely related papers published very recently. The focus of this section will be to address scientific areas removed from the immediate arthritis literature, with the intention of drawing insight and expertise from advances in other fields.

Selected papers will be drawn primarily from Faculty of 1000 via keyword searching and thereafter will be critically reviewed by a panel of scientists working in arthritis-related fields. Themes for the viewpoint section will not be proscribed but will likely include fundamental advances in basic science, including understanding in the fields of molecular and cellular biology, proteomics and genomic research, together with key clinical intervention studies that are of considerable novelty either by content or design. Emphasis on the technological capabilities employed in studies will also be given. Viewpoint will by definition be responsive to movements in the trends and content of the literature.

Conceivably, a diverse subject matter could be covered; for example, a futuristic approach might necessarily prompt inclusion of advances in bioinformatics, computational science and applied mathematics. By this means the journal hopes to provide a stimulating, thought-provoking insight to other fields of potential relevance to researchers with their core activities in the arthritis field.

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Correspondence to Iain B McInnes.

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McInnes, I.B. Introduction. Arthritis Res Ther 5, 153 (2003).

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