A New Kind of Journal

Paul Pentel
Department of Medicine
Hennepin County Medical Center
Minneapolis, MN

January 1998; 1(1): 2


The maturation of the Internet, with its convenience and now quite widespread use, has opened up new possibilities for scientific publication. Many existing print journals now publish Internet versions. These are generally on-line copies of the hard-copy journal whose primary purpose is to provide greater convenience of access. The on-line format can also be used to publish supplementary information that may be too lengthy to include in the more expensive hard-copy format. Other journals have been started which have no hard-copy counterpart. Here the advantage of the internet is lower cost and greater speed of publication.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Internet is widely used for discussion groups which range from listservs to moderated formats (such as ACMTNet). Discussion groups take advantage of the ease and speed of communication offered by the Internet to allow the rapid exchange of ideas and information in a minimally structured setting.

The Internet Journal of Medical Toxicology (IJMT) is an effort sponsored by the American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) to combine many of the advantages of an on-line journal and a discussion group. IJMT will not publish original research; print journals with that focus for the field of Medical Toxicology already exist. IJMT will, instead, publish editorials, clinical case conferences, news and other items that deal with important, difficult, or controversial topics in Medical Toxicology for the specific purpose of generating a discussion. This discussion will take the form of email responses from readers which will be published rapidly in IJMT, with subsequent rounds published as well until interest subsides. Thus, IJMT will solicit and regularly publish items of interest, like a traditional journal, but with the specific purpose of generating a real-time discussion, like a listserv.

ACMTNet, a well subscribed moderated discussion group, already provides a popular forum for discussion among Medical Toxicologists. The material posted on ACMTNet is conceived and generated by subscribers when they choose to do so, most often because they have a perplexing question. This is the beauty and the major limitation of ACMTNet; challenging and fascinating questions are aired, but many other useful discussions never take place because they don't occur spontaneously. IJMT will attempt to fill this void by publishing items for discussion on a regular schedule, soliciting the leaders in our field to present and discuss our most important scientific, medical, social and political issues.

Material for publication will be solicited by the editors, but unsolicited items are also welcome. The initial sections of IJMT will be as follows.

EDITORIALS: Opinion pieces or mini-reviews.

CASE CONFERENCES: Case reports followed by an evaluation by a discussant.

ACMT NEWS: ACMT business and news items (print copy of the newsletter will still be available to those who prefer this).

ACMTNet: This will continue to function as it does currently and will be sent independent of IJMT, but will be administratively integrated with IJMT to assure that the two stay coordinated.

The core of IJMT will be its interactive capability, with comments from readers being posted rapidly (within 72 hours) after posting of the initial item, and with subsequent rounds of comment and dialogue posted as needed. It is this capability to interact that we hope will define IJMT and provide a unique forum for our field.

Full information about IJMT is included in this inaugural issue, but will be omitted from subsequent issues for the sake of brevity and readability. It will be posted instead on the ACMT website.

 



January 1998; 1(1): 2

This article is located at http://www.ijmt.net/ijmt/1_1/1_1_1.html

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