Are print medical journals dead?

August 9, 2011 by MassDevice

Can medical journals keep pace with today's on-demand digital technology?

By Westby G. Fisher, MD, FACC

Westby Fisher

This morning in the Chicago Tribune's business section appeared an article entitled "Just What the Doctor Ordered" that included an interview with Dr. Howard Bauchner, the new editor for the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). He plans to pursue a strategy of "intelligent innovation" for the journal:

...looking for ways to get information to doctors and consumers through several new platforms, such as social media, video and other forms. "If you look at TED or Big Think, they have been experimenting with video clips," Bauchner said. "I could imagine having some of our authors do video clips where they speak about the meaning of their research for eight or 10 minutes, and then that's easily linked to a smart phone."

He also wants shorter on-line version of articles that condense the topic to 500 words from the typical 2,500- to 3,0000-word articles not too dissimilar, I suppose, to the abstract. 

Which leads to the inevitable end result: print medical journals are on life support. Like Borders Book Stores, print journals will no longer be archived in neat little rows in doctor's offices any longer - it simply is not how we get our information anymore. Dr. Bauchner, to his credit, acknowledges this.