COMMENTARY

Announcing The Medscape Journal of Medicine

; Steve Zatz, MD

Disclosures

January 02, 2008


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What's in a name? Not much. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" we are told by no less an authority than William Shakespeare through the words of Juliet.[1] What's in a name? A lot. Rhetoric is a powerful communicator of meaning and nuance.

We chose the name Medscape General Medicine, acronym MedGenMed, in 1999[2] to denote a general rather than a specialty journal, knowing that many medical journals do not use the word "journal" in their title. Blood, Cancer, and Gut are examples.

But we miscalculated. MedGenMed, as the original open-access primary source general medical journal, on MEDLINE since 2000,[3] is exclusively online. Thus, it has been mischaracterized by some readers and authors from the beginning as "just another Website."

To correct this misunderstanding, effective today, we are changing the name to The Medscape Journal of Medicine, www.themedscapejournal.com. Since online publishing is publishing,[4] we hope this new name will cause the confusion to cease.

The journal remains the same with only a few new tweaks. It consists of Core, which includes most articles with categories like those in the old New England Journal of Medicine or that British medical journal called The Lancet. The rest of The Medscape Journal of Medicine will continue to consist of articles in Sections representing selected specialty fields, the newest being Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, edited by Dr. David Goldenberg of Penn State College of Medicine.

The Medscape Journal of Medicine welcomes original articles, clinical trials, critical reviews, special articles, commentaries, and other categories appropriate for a general and specialty medical audience in all countries. In addition, just as MedGenMed brought you, the reader, a first-hand look at medicine and art with famed author Dr. M. Therese Southgate,[5] The Medscape Journal will give you music and medicine, featuring a young Boston surgeon, in January 2008.

The distribution channels for The Medscape Journal are unrivaled, beginning with the vast Medscape platform itself and its weekly MedPulse newsletters. We also use MEDLINE/PubMed and PubMedCentral, and for Webcast video features, Google Video, iPod loading from Yahoo and iTunes, and even YouTube.

Twenty-first-century medical communication has been defined by a steep upslope in the use of the Internet by physicians to receive new medical information. There are concurrent sharp declines in the use of paper journals, medical meetings, pharmaceutical detail people, and dinner seminars as the sources for much MD learning.

The WebMD family of professional Web sites, of which The Medscape Journal is one small part, includes Medscape, TheHeart.org, and eMedicine, each a unique and valuable resource. In aggregate, these properties now contribute 17% of all Category I physician CME participants in the US, with growing evidence that online CME activity does influence physician behavior.[6]

Whether you contribute articles or participate in our discussions, or provide us with email feedback, or just listen to our podcasts or watch our video content, you have the ability to be involved in The Medscape Journal in a deeper way than is possible in a traditional publishing model.

So, thanks for coming and participating, and stay with us. Internet medical publishing is the future, and the future is now.

That's our opinion. We are Dr. George Lundberg, Editor-in-Chief of The Medscape Journal, and Dr. Steve Zatz, EVP Professional Services for WebMD.


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