Birth of a Publication

Apr 21 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

When I was in training, I got a few journals, generally free, courtesy subscriptions sent in the hope that I would join super expensive medical societies. I remember scanning the abstracts each week or month to see what might be of interest or relevant to my life. If I did not get your publication, then I would only become aware of your papers when I submitted a search request to a librarian and it came up in the results. If our library carried that journal, I could photocopy the article; if not, I would request an interlibrary loan. Then, another library would provide a photocopy by snail-mail a few weeks later.

My, my, how the world has changed.


When was the last time I skimmed a dead-tree journal? Usually, I get electronic table of contents via email and download articles with titles of immediate interest. I have interests listed in Google Scholar, and I get relevant citations that way. I also subscribe to a few journals via app (every clinician should be aware of the content of New England Journal of Medicine) and RSS feed. Finally, when I have a particular question, I do a search via Google or PubMed and download relevant articles that way.

I remember the last time I went to the library to photocopy something. I needed a paper from 1927, and the dust on that tome left me sneezing for 20 minutes. 

We no longer restrict ourselves to journals in our mailboxes, either physical or virtual. While journals tout their impact factors, and some careers may be judged by the journals in which their work appears, for the most part we just want the information. I could care less if the study I need appears in Nature or in Nephron if it answers my question.

Tomorrow the APS will celebrate the official launch of its joint venture with The Physiological Society of Physiological Reports, an open access online journal. The journal will accept direct submissions, but will also have manuscripts forwarded, with author permission, from APS and Physiological Society journals. This is the sort of system Scicurious wished for; "Sorry, your manuscript will not appear in Journal of Awesomesauce as it is, but it can be accepted almost immediately by our sister OA publication, Awesomesauce Communications."

That would sure save a lot of people a lot of time and, as they say, time is money. 

Consider this your official invitation to the launch party; OK, all I did was cut and paste from the APS website. Get over it, and get on over to the booth!

Physiological Reports will be hosting a launch reception at the Experimental Biology Conference 2013. Come and visit us at the APS Main Booth no. 731 from 2-3.30pm on Sunday 21 April. Meet Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Thomas Kleyman and find out more about the journal. Free drinks and snacks!


2 responses so far

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    Back in the good old days, one would have a stack of reprint request cards, and mail a request to the author when wanting a copy of a paper. When I published an article, I would purchase so many reprints, and send them out as I received requests. We also had colleagues with whom we routinely exchanged reprints. We sent NSF two reprints of anything we published with NSF support. We also tacked a reprint on the department bulletin board for all to see, and gave one to the secretary for our personnel file.

    • whizbang says:

      Of course, in the postcard days, the department (or a really big section) had a subscription to Current Contents that was passed around for mailing out those postcards to those whose journals were unavailable. By the time it got to us fellows, the science could be out-of-date! OK, not quite that bad, but pretty damn slow...

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