From Archiv für Klinische Chirurgie to Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery: 1860-2010

H G Beger
Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery 2010, 395 Suppl 1: 3-12

INTRODUCTION: In February 1860, B. Langenbeck, Th. Billroth, and G. Gurlt certified in Berlin with the publisher A. Hirschwald the founding of Archiv für Klinische Chirurgie. The journal published extended reports about application of new and case-proven surgical procedures. Separate sections were dedicated to surgical casuistics and small surgical communications and report of surgical institutions from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland as well as annual statistical reports of hospitals. Beginning with the first issue, the Archive was an international journal with the focus on gastrointestinal, trauma, orthopedic, thyroid, and vascular surgery. A section Achievements and Progress in Surgery referred to published results in national and international medical and surgical journals.

GERMAN SOCIETY OF SURGERY: Surgeons from Germany contributed strongly to the rise of operative treatment concepts in the second half of the nineteenth century by new surgical procedures, many of them published in the Archiv für Klinische Chirurgie. Since 1923, the German Society of Surgery took Archiv für Klinische Chirurgie as the official journal of the society. Beginning 1950, Langenbeck's published in a separate supplement the proceedings of the annual congress of the German Society of Surgery. A second supplement published since 1972 focused exclusively on reporting of research work presented in the section of Surgical Forum for Experimental and Clinical Surgery.

AFTER THE WAR: After World War II, Langenbeck's Archiv für Chirurgie gained acceptance as the leading scientific surgical journal in Germany. Since 1998, the concept of Langenbeck's Archiv was completely changed to an English journal with the title Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery. In the last 12 years, Langenbeck's has turned to an international German-surgery-based electronic journal. Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery experienced an increasing international reputation; in 2001, only two non-American journals (British Journal of Surgery and Langenbeck's) belonged to the top ten journals in general and GI-tract surgery. The present impact factor (IF) of Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery is 1.829 (5-year IF). The decrease of subscriptions for the journal is compensated by an increase of electronic readers. The electronic supplementary material provided by the Springer Company is used to publish manuscripts in the section How-To-Do Surgery, combined with a video clip about surgical techniques. The focus of Langenbeck's is general, GI-tract, endocrine, and HBP surgery.

CONCLUSION: Langenbeck's has continuously been published for 150 years and is considered to be the worldwide oldest scientific surgical journal. The English-language-based journal contributes increasingly to an international communication of surgical research and clinical surgeons from Germany.

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