Journal of Operative Dentistry




Dr. J. Martin Anderson

The journal Operative Dentistry had its origins as a successor to the Journal of the American Academy of Gold Foil Operators, which had been guided by the editorship of Dr. Jose Medina from 1958 to 1962. Dr. Robert Wolcott followed as editor from 1963 to 1974. Publication of the 1975 volume was shared by Dr. Wolcott and Dr. A. Ian Hamilton. The Journal of the American Academy of Gold Foil Operators was a semiannual publication with its focus promoting the advancement of the practice of gold foil as the best and most durable restorative material for small lesions.

The Academy of Operative Dentistry was founded in 1972 primarily by members of the American Academy of Gold Foil Operators. The purpose of the Academy of Operative Dentistry was to promote excellence in operative dentistry. The two academies had decided to jointly sponsor the new journal and they selected Dr. A. Ian Hamilton to be the editor of the new publication.

The Editorship of A. Ian Hamilton, BA, BS, MA, PhD, DDS 1974 -1985

The new journal was to be a quarterly publication rather than semiannual, and, it would publish articles that advanced the practice of the entire field of operative dentistry. The scope of the journal included conservation and restoration of teeth, the scientific foundation of operative dental therapy; dental materials; dental education; and the social, political, and economic aspects of dental practice. Review papers, book reviews, letters, and classified ads for faculty positions are also published. Volume 1, Number 1 was published in the Winter of 1976. Dr. Hamilton had selected a blue cover scheme with a white border of polka dots and white lettering. The size of the journal was 7 inches by 9.5 inches. The cover was varnished. The annual subscription rate at this time was $20 per year. There were 48 pages per volume, each bound with a saddle stitch.

The organization of the journal infrastructure was a formidable task for the editor. Associate editors, editorial assistants, copy and editors, a managing editor, and editorial board (referees), editorial advisers, a subscription manager all had to be recruited, trained, and supervised. The editor’s job was to select the best possible articles for publication and then get those articles in the best possible shape for the reader.

Dr Hamilton’s publishing team:

Editor: Dr. A. Ian Hamilton
Associate Editors: Wilmer B. Eames, Clifford H. Miller, Gerald D. Stibbs, David J. Bales
Managing Editor: J. Martin Anderson
Editorial Assistant: Nancy M. Neyens
Editorial Associate: Joan B. Manzer
Subscription Manager: Judy A. Valela

Dr. Hamilton retired as editor of Operative Dentistry with the completion of Volume 10. His reorganization of The Journal of the American Academy of Gold Foil Operators brought a new format and composition to dental literature. The new journal became unique – an international publication for articles exclusively devoted to the science and practice of operative dentistry. The first editor of Operative Dentistry left more than a distinguished standard of fastidious supervision and direction. In his editorial pieces and his other writings he set the tone and created the spirit of Operative Dentistry. He left his mark on every page of every number. Properly conducted research coupled with a simple, legible account of that research was oxygen in his lungs. His critical analyses of research proprieties, and that of his associate editors and referees, have been invaluable to the readers. Unworthy typescripts simply were not published. Many writers learned from him a respect for craft and discipline in the language. Though his editorials could be critical, he was remarkably keen and quick in the defense of personal liberty and purity of expression.

To appraise the editor is to appraise the value, significance, and magnitude of his work. Dr. Hamilton’s ten volumes of Operative Dentistry and three supplements have provided the readers with considerable information.

A. Ian Hamiltion’s estimation of qualities, merits, and flaws has made the reading of Operative Dentistry immensely nourishing. He will always be our benefactor.

The Editorship of David J. Bales, DDS, MSD 1986-1992

Dr. David Jefferson Bales succeeded Dr. Hamilton as editor in 1986. Prior to Dr. Bales’s editorship the mechanics of page layout were done by the cut-and-paste method. This was time-consuming and required much manual labor. Joan Manzer, the copy editor, labored diligently and persistently with copy and the page layout. Dr. Bales’s expertise with computers and the use of word processing software eliminated the old cut-and-paste method and greatly reduced the editing. It became much easier to place copy on the page and size pictures and illustrations. In 1990, with desktop technology, Dr. Bales moved the journal from four to six numbers per year. He also reversed the existing color scheme to a white background with blue lettering and logos. About this time, facsimile and e-mail technology were being made available. This greatly enhanced the ability of the editor to communicate with authors and the editorial board (referees).

Dr. Bales recruited two outstanding employees for the journal: his wife, Darlyne Bales, in 1987 as an editorial assistant, and Kate Flynn-Connolly in 1988 as an editorial associate. Both of these women provided tremendous support, expertise, and enthusiasm for the journal. They continued in their duties until the journal was moved to Indiana. The quality and timeliness of their work greatly enhanced the quality of the journal and made working with the editorial board an easier task for the editor.

During his tenure, Dr. Bales produced seven volumes, 34 numbers, and two supplements, one of which was the prestigious “Proceedings of the International Symposium on Adhesives in Dentistry,” which contained twenty-two state-of-the-science papers. David’s exceptional work ethic, depth of knowledge, and dedication to his profession provided all the necessary ingredients for a successful editorship. He will always be our benefactor.

The Editorship of Maxwell H. Anderson, DDS, MEd, MS 1993 – 1995

Dr. Maxwell H. Anderson became the third editor of Operative Dentistry, succeeding Dr Bales 1993.

His experience as a teacher, mentor, researcher, speaker and writer, gave him the tools for editing what had by now become a recognized and respected scientific journal. Though his tenure as editor was relatively short, he guided the publishing of twelve numbers and made significant changes to the size and format of the journal. His changing the size to 8 ½ x 11 inches gave the publication a new look and also saved money in printing costs. It also afforded the journal the luxury of publishing more articles. Dr. Anderson was keen to recognize the need to carry clinical articles. He wrote specific guidelines for prospective authors of these papers (Vol 18(3) pg 115). A “clinical relevance” statement was required for all original papers to give the reader a better understanding of the practical application and usefulness of the article published. Max’s energy and exceptional knowledge of the field of operative dentistry greatly benefited the readers of Operative Dentistry. He will always be our benefactor.

The Editorship of Dr Richard B. McCoy, DDS, MS 1995 – 1999

Dr. Richard B. McCoy succeeded Dr. Maxwell H. Anderson as editor of Operative Dentistry in 1995 when Dr. Anderson left the university to pursue a career in the dental insurance industry. Dr. McCoy has been on the editorial board, and, had been associate editor, which placed him in an excellent position to take over as the new editor. Dick was very well acquainted with the editorial team and had extensive experience working with scientific typescripts. Dr McCoy produced 30 numbers and the first color article was published during his tenure. He strengthened the editorial board (referees) and set a policy that utilized three referees for each submitted typescript. Dr. McCoy expanded the journal from 48 pages to 72 pages with a new “spine” binding that displays the journal’s name and volume for easier shelf-identification. Dick’s editorship is marked by the international recognition of Operative Dentistry for its overall quality. This has resulted in a continuing influx of excellent typescripts from around the world that provide our readers with valuable information. Dr. McCoy resigned as editor in 1999 and continues as an associate editor. He will always be our benefactor.

The Editorship of Dr Michael A Cochran, DDS MSD 2000-2009

Dr. Cochran’s first task was moving the journal offices from Seattle to Indianapolis. Through a collective effort from both universities, those tasks were accomplished with no disruptions in publishing. Dr. Cochran efficiently managed to form a new publishing team at the Indiana University School of Dentistry and the move was accomplished expeditiously.

Mike was a leader in operative dentistry and dental education throughout his career and retired as chair of the graduate program in operative dentistry at Indiana University. The journal was very fortunate to have him on board as editor. He efficiently processed a very large number of typescripts, and increased the number of pages printed to 100-130 in each issue. Mike gave a new look to the journal with a new cover design and internal style changes. He added an “Invited Papers” section that allows the journal to provide more clinical and state-of-the-art technique articles. Another major change in the journal format is the inclusion of corporate sponsorship. The corporate logo of each sponsor is published in each number. These companies have been selected by a commitment to operative dentistry equal to our own. This program has increased revenue which has helped keep the subscription rate nominal yet allows for improvements in quality, size and color. Arguably the most significant change to the journal occurred under Mike’s watch when the journal began online publications in 2006. With this advancement, subscriptions included an electronic journal and libraries in particular benefitted from this opportunity to have the journal available for a much wider student and research audience

Dr. Cochran’s Editorial Team:

Editor: Michael A. Cochran 
Editorial Assistant/Subscription Manager: Joan Matis
Editorial Associate: Karen E Wilczewski
Associate Editors: Bruce A Matis, Edward J DeSchepper and Richard B McCoy
Managing Editor: Timothy J Carlson
Assistant Managing Editors: Joel M Wagoner and Ronald K Harris
The Editorship of Dr Jeffrey A Platt, DDS MS 2010-present

Dr. Platt is the current editor, and upon completing his third term he will be the longest tenured editor of the journal to date. Jeff is a widely respected in dental education and research. He is Chair of Biomedical Sciences and Comprehensive Care and Director of Dental Materials at the Indiana University School of Dentistry. The journal was fortunate to have Jeff take the helm upon Mike’s retirement which allowed the journal to continue to be associated with Indiana. The smooth transition was aided by not having to change the publication team in the Indianapolis area. Jeff continues to push the electronic potential of the journal. This all-digital workflow allows the publication of “online-early” manuscripts, allowing information to be available to the public several months before it is published in the print journal. In addition, Jeff has added an online-only section, which effectively adds about 40% more article content to each issue, while maintaining a print size of around 112 pages. 

Dr. Platt’s Editorial Team:

Editor: Jeffrey A Platt
Office Manager: Erin Cody
Editorial Associate: Dina Theleritis
Associate Editors: N Blaine Cook, Kim E Diefenderfer, So Ran Kwon, Camila Sabatini
Managing Editor: Timothy J Carlson
Assistant Managing Editors: Paul Hasegawa, Eric Morrison, Lawrence Vanzella
Editorial Assistant and Director of Continuing Education: Kevin B Matis

Twenty-five Years of Editing Articles: A Retrospective View

Adlai Stevenson once said: “Editors are very good at separating the wheat from the chaff, and then they print the chaff.” During my years of working with the editors of Operative Dentistry, I got a kick out of how they liked to prune articles. Certain words and phrases were forbidden. Sometimes whole paragraphs were cut; sometimes whole articles rewrittten. For example, Dr. Hamilton did not allow the word impact on his pristine pages, unless it referred to an airplane crash or the striking of one body against another. Adverbs were permitted but sparingly. Arguably was cleanly excised; no floating whatevers were allowed, and most indeeds at the beginning of sentences were lopped away. Incredible and fascinating were relegated to the circus barkers. The qualifiers rather, very, pretty, and somewhat didn’t make the cut, and neither did intriguing, except when it referred to plotting and spying. Little could be used only to indicate size. Heaping modifiers all in a row was not allowed. Anything that smacked of psycho-jargon or cant was out, which included the words special, caring, and sharing. Academic locutions took a brutal beating: very few in terms of got by, fewer as it weres, and no if you wills whatsoever; the Latin abbreviations i.g., e.g. and etc. were sent to the woodshed. The result: clear, understandable writing.

Each editor of Operative Dentistry had to reject a fair number of articles submitted for publication because the information was either redundant or not significantly useful. Journal editors are, of course, the stewards of scientific quality, and they face a very difficult task. In most scholarly research, and in the digging out and reporting of news, fact means true. No journal can afford to publish all the evidence required to support an author’s experimental conclusions. But, how can a editor approve publication when information necessary to proof is missing? What if the experiment and research is incomplete or erroneous? An all too frequent comment at the conclusion of an article is that more research is needed. It would be better to do the needed research and then publish the results. The reader has to trust the author and editor to invoke those procedures properly. Thus one’s reputation for trustworthiness, call it intellectual integrity if not honesty, is crucial to a scientific journal. Concerns about scientific integrity permeate every piece of research, every talk, every paper. The reader of Operative Dentistry deserved high quality articles.

Beyond the Publishing of Scientific Articles

Throughout its twenty five year history the journal has also published essays, opinions, and points of view by editors and guests. These essays are of great importance because they bring ideas and criticisms to the fore. For example, many editorials have described the plight of dental education in operative dentistry. Editorials have expounded on the difficulty in recruiting, training and retaining excellent teachers in our dental schools. Essayists have elucidated the plight of dentists who are overwhelmed by the marketing departments of dental manufacturers. Point-of-view articles have described the ethical difficulties that dentists have faced with a profession that must bear the tactics of insurance companies. Papers have been written explaining how the operative dentistry curriculums of dental schools have been eroded and undermined by naÔve administrators. At least one article gazed gleefully into the future in an attempt to illuminate probable changes in the profession. Quality of care has been a frequent subject for discussion and will likely continue to be investigated. In the publishing of these editorials and commentaries, Operative Dentistry has brought the reader information vital for the health of the profession and the success of clinical practice. Critical commentary is an essential ingredient in advancing the art, the science, and the craft of operative dentistry. As such, it has always been welcomed.

As we stand on the brink of the third millennium, a large part of the dental profession may feel justified in feeling a certain complacency. We are very much in thrall to the idea that the profession is moving forward in a desirable, that is progressive direction, and that overall things are getting better in the field of operative dentistry. In reviewing the dental literature over the past twenty-five years, viewing the present state of dental education, (undergraduate, post-graduate, and that obtained in the trade magazines and one-day courses), and in contemplating the present nature of restorations being placed by clinicians, one can opine that we need to temper our optimism and self-assurance: progress is not inevitable in any field, especially the very technical field of operative dentistry.

I feel very fortunate and privileged to have been the managing editor of Operative Dentistry during the past twenty-five years. I will always be indebted to the editors under whom I served: A. Ian Hamilton, David J. Bales, Maxwell H. Anderson, and Richard B. McCoy. Each of these editors left their mark of excellence on the journal. Each served selflessly. Each enhanced the quality of dental journalism.

As the new millenium begins, the journal has a new home at the Indiana University School of Dentistry under the new editor, Michael A. Cochran, and his managing editor, Timothy J. Carlson. The challenges that face the new administrators of our excellent dental journal will be formidable, but, in my opinion, very exciting. I would like to give them my best wishes and steadfast support.

J. Martin Anderson, BA, BS, DDS
Managing Editor 1974-1999