electronic publishing, medicine, plastic surgery
H Langstein. Introduction To The Inaugural Issue. The Internet Journal of Plastic Surgery. 2000 Volume 1 Number 1.
Howard N. Langstein, M. D.
Editor in Chief
Welcome to the first issue of the Internet Journal of Plastic Surgery, a new concept in Plastic Surgery publishing. Until recently, we have depended upon the medium of print to share our ideas and publish new advances in the field of Plastic Surgery, but the time has come to enter a new phase in information transfer, the age of the internet. Now that the information superhighway has become an established part of our lives, it is only natural to harness its power to assist us in the distribution of information in Plastic Surgery. Many practitioners have already capitalized on this by setting up practice web sites in order to advertise their services. More and more of our patients have become internet savvy and are turning to these sites in record numbers. To be sure, some limited medical information is available on the web, but the obvious purpose for these sites is patient acquisition and practice building. Attracting potential patients is an important function, but the web has so much more to offer than advertising.
Several disciplines have already recognized the appeal of publishing online, and some of these journals have become quite successful. But, for several reasons, there is no discipline better suited to internet publishing than Plastic Surgery. The Internet Journal of Plastic Surgery has been designed to match the multimedia capacity of the internet with the unique way Plastic Surgery information is best displayed. This new journal is the ideal platform to deliver digital images and movies, links to related sites including bibliographies, and to provide interactivity between reader and author. Consider how useful it would be to watch a video clip of a new technique. Imagine downloading post-operative images after a complex hand procedure to visually judge the range of motion. Think of having the ability to interact with the author simply with a mouse click. Three-dimensional imaging, as highlighted in this particular issue, can be used to more accurately portray surgical results. Interactive modules can be offered to obtain continuing medical education credits. Turn around time can be incredibly short with online processing, and the result is that new advances can be distributed much faster than conventional print journals. The more you think about this concept, the more appropriate this platform is for Plastic Surgery, and the possibilities truly become limitless.
The Internet Journal of Plastic Surgery should not be thought of as simply an online version of a print journal, as many established print journals have recently become. Rather, it is a completely online publication, never to be printed unless a reader wishes to capture desired information. It is similar to other print journals in that articles will be peer reviewed, and many of our editors serve on the boards of the respected print journals. The goal is to attract the very best material available for Plastic Surgical publishing, and present it in a way that brings it to the reader in a vivid, contemporary, convenient way.
Our intent is to provide this service free to the reader, using advertising revenues to offset the costs of production, which should be considerably cheaper than a print journal. Several vendors have already expressed an interest, and the prospects are reasonable that we will remain free to our readership. And, who do we anticipate our readers to be? Naturally, the general Plastic Surgical community will be our primary audience, and the content will be aimed for this group. Patients will also have access to this journal and sections specifically devoted to patient education are being considered. For those of you opposed to opening up all of the material to the public, recognize that even the material offered in print journals is available in libraries and on Medline or Pubmed. Simply said, all of published material finds its way into the public domain, and our patients currently have unfettered access to our literature, anyway.
This is an exciting time in Plastic Surgery, a time when technological advances have allowed a quantum leap possible in the way we distribute information. Our specialty has always led the way in solving difficult clinical problems with creativity, innovation, and foresight. Publishing on the internet, we think, is that next leap and it is only fitting that Plastic Surgeons move to the front of this information revolution. While our first issue is only a fraction of what is anticipated, please evaluate our content and the manner in which it is delivered with an open mind. Consider sending us material for publication, especially content that would best be highlighted with movies, graphics, interactivity, and all of the multimedia capacity of the internet. Please email or call with comments, criticisms, and questions. Welcome to the future of Plastic Surgery publishing!
Howard N Langstein, M. D.