The new Vet Record: What’s new?

Posted on November 14, 2017 by Adele Waters

For several months, the team at Vet Record have been working on redesigning this well-established resource for UK vets. Since its launch in 1888, Vet Record has been essential reading for the profession and is a highly valued membership benefit of BVA. As such we wanted to make sure that any changes were done with the reader in mind.

Market Research

All changes have been based on what vets told us they wanted. Over the past year, we’ve carried out some qualitative in-depth market research among practising vets and vet students to try and understand what would make the reading experience better and what changes would be welcomed. In addition, we’ve informally canvassed opinion at conferences and collated feedback you’ve sent via letters and e-mails.

Based on the feedback we received, our overall aim of the redesign is to give a more engaging read that allows the reader access to high quality and evidence-based information in a compact and user-friendly design. Our main changes are in the presentation of the content, which we have packaged in a more ordered and easy-to-read way. Although we have introduced some new features too…

Signposting and browsability

Each section is now colour coordinated so the reader can navigate it easily. The journal will also feel more browsable, with bigger more interesting pictures, cleaner pages and better use of white space so articles are easier to read.

Our market research showed that vets tend to scan pages for images that draw their eye to content. It seems that pictures really are worth more than a thousand words so we have already introduced the Big Picture feature and it has received excellent feedback. We’ve also launched a range of devices to aid reading through longer articles such as sub-headings and pull-quotes.

Shorter and more helpful

We understand vets are very busy and our research suggested that shortcuts, key points and practical advice would be helpful. As such we’ve populated the journal with boxes, summaries or timelines so the reader can scan the article and quickly gain an understanding of the piece and assess whether it is something they want to read in full.

We’ve also cut the overall word count of the journal by 18 per cent. This has been done by making the writing more precise and concise and with no dilution in quality.

Opinion and Controversy

Our readers have said that they’d like to hear from other vets on a range of issues, including controversial topics that instigate discussion. As such we’ve introduced an opinion section, which we hope will give voice to current issues and encourage intelligent debate.

View from the client

Vets have told us that they wanted to learn more about clients’ experiences and hear more about their views so we’ve launched a new feature called ‘What is your client thinking?’. In this monthly feature, clients and occasionally veterinary surgeons will explore different experiences of animal ownership and veterinary practice. The first of these is about the challenges and rewards of caring for a cat with chronic kidney disease. We hope by giving the owner a view this will help vets give clients the best experience possible.

What’s in a name?

Although the official name of the journal is Veterinary Record, it’s referred to by many as ‘Vet Record’. We have decided to change the masthead on the front page of the journal to reflect common usage and we now use the title ‘Vet Record’ throughout the journal. For legal purposes and for the impact factor of the journal the official name will remain Veterinary Record.

When will you see it?

The first issues of the new look Vet Record rolled off the press on Thursday 11 November and should have come through letterboxes by Saturday 11 November. They will also be available at the London Vet Show 17 and 18 November 2017. Have a look and let us know what you think.

Adele Waters

Written by Adele Waters

Editor of Veterinary Record

Adele Waters joined BMJ’s publishing group as editor of Veterinary Record and BVA’s other journals in February 2017.