OM blog - Rise of openness in medicine

Submitted by Dean Giustini on May 1, 2007 - 00:31

In addition to the systematic review of Guyatt and other clinical articles, our inaugural issue deals thematically with the rise of openness in medical publishing. You might even say our first issue is a phoenix rising. Why is openness, independence and transparency important in an era of evidence-based practice?

Many reasons spring to mind. [img_assist|nid=12|title=An open science|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=83|height=100]First, according to Gavin Yamey et al in the article The Joys and challenges of being an open-access journal, Open Medicine is “joining a revolution that now seems unstoppable” – a revolution free of barriers, conflicts of interest and commercial interference. Yamey, the magazine editor at the Public Library of Science (PLoS), itself a non-profit organization, argues that the scientific and medical literature should be a freely-available public resource to all, even patients. As a health librarian committed to access, I couldn’t agree more, and appreciate Yamey's points about data mining. My sense is that no open access is possible without the search tools to help us locate articles in the first place.

The idea of a more open, transparent mechanism to support medical research is further explored in Matthew Falagas’ analysis Peer review in open-access scientific journals. Like Yamey, Falagas concedes that scientific publishing is indeed experiencing a revolution, and suggests that we now turn to our attention to peer-review. He believes that open review of manuscripts - that is, signing and publishing peer reviews next to published research - will result in the “rise of a more open science”.

Finally, if you haven’t already done so, read Dr. James Maskalyk's editorial Why Open Medicine? to get a sense of what our hopes and dreams are for the Journal. As a fellow blogger, I recommend James’ excellent Suddenly Sudan, a blog describing his work for the international organization, Medicin San Frontieres. I admire James for his love of story-telling. He is someone who understands the power of blogging.

Dean Giustini - OM Blogger

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I want to thank all of you who have been e-mailing about the blog, and for sending the OM editorial team your well-wishes. We are taking every suggestion and e-mail seriously, and we will keep you posted about the next steps for the Journal. In the meantime, I'll be blogging later about the direct-to-consumer drug advertising article in the first issue.


Dean Giustini