Advances in publishing
Considerable advances have been made in medical publishing with the proliferation of the internet. Manuscript submission and peer-review systems are now entirely electronic and faster, more efficient and transparent. Research papers now have an increasing amount of associated data and/or methodology and this can be published online alongside the paper, ensuring the data are available to the research community without occupying excessive space in print formats. Articles can be also posted online immediately on acceptance ahead of being allocated to an issue, allowing faster dissemination of research findings. Video clips and other materials can also be posted online, especially when there is a need to describe a specific interventional procedure. Podcasts with descriptions and discussions about current issues and their contents can be helpful to draw the reader’s attention to key articles.
Publishers are also adopting new publishing models such as continuous publication, which allows full citation details to be available immediately upon online publication, bypassing the need for a publish ahead of print stage.
As smart phones and tablet devices are becoming more widespread, this technology has also been channelled into medical publications. Recently, the ERS launched an ERS publications app for the iPhone and iPad, providing easy access to the full text and images of both the European Respiratory Journal (ERJ) and the European Respiratory Review (ERR).
Paper is not dead however: many of the current respiratory journals still publish in print and, to date, only a few have made the move to being online only. A number of factors will affect this decision for publishers and societies, including (to name just a few) advertising income, library preference, costs of printing and postage, reader feedback and society membership benefits.