Why we need Open Access, by SpringerPlus’ Medicine Section Editor, Dr. Massoud Mahmoudi

Mass Communication in Science and Medicine

We all have benefited from the impact of mass communication in our daily life, whether in the form of a mass e-mail invitation, or watching a televised media report. Putting aside the social values, the role of sharing information in science and medicine have become more crucial and important than ever. Each means of communication has its own value in conveying information and all sources collectively help us to be effective communicators.

Internet – Learning and sharing information are two useful aspects of internet usage. Whether we use internet to link with a support group or access an organization website to collect information of a specific product, read science or medicine news, or gather information on description of an illness, we are benefiting enormously for this valuable resource.

Electronic Health record – The effective communication in medicine has tremendous impact in our life as patients or as health providers. The electronic health record is one example of an effective communication tool among peers and, at the same time, one that replaces the paper trails and makes the filing system efficient. Since its inception in the 1960’s (1), we have witnessed the development and availability of various electronic Health record products on the market that have notably changed the way we share information amongst colleagues.

Journals – Newsletters and journals are important means of communication. Physicians may choose to communicate with their patients by creating a newsletter consisting of news in medicine or science, or discussion of a disease entity. A small company may use a newsletter to share information on a product. On a larger scale, we as scientists, clinicians, or educators communicate via published journals.

There are two vital aspects of publication; accuracy and time intervals. Although the contributor is responsible for the accuracy of collected data and presentation of information, the role of an editor or a publisher is to check such data to ensure that it is scientifically and logically sound and worth sharing; such a task is accomplished in a peer-reviewed fashion. The second aspect of publication is the time interval between presentation of a manuscript to the publisher‘s office and the actual date of publication; shorter publication intervals ensure that the information is still new and up-to-date. As we all do our share of going “Green”, the movement of online publication has not only helped the efficiency of communication, but has shortened the time interval of publication.

Finally, the effectiveness of mass communication is measured by how generously the information is distributed; by this, I mean the availability of general user access. Unfortunately the majority of journals are accessed by subscription and unless you are using the journal via an academic center, individuals or independent researchers may not have the luxury of accessing those subscribed resources. The Open Access Journal is a solution in widening circle of communication without a cost to the readers. To date, there are thousands of open access journals; In February 2012 the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), a directory maintained by the Lund University Libraries, listed 7513 (2).

One of the latest additions to the Open Access Journal family is SpringerPlus, the present journal, which launched in January 2012. This scientific peer-reviewed journal is a wide medium for various aspects of science and medicine covering all disciplines of science for publication. We as editors appreciate the effort of scientists, clinicians, and educators for time spent in research and for presentation of their valuable data for sharing with others; we will make every effort to ensure such information is reviewed, presented and shared with the rest of scientific community in a timely fashion.

Dr. Massoud Mahmoudi

Medicine Section Editor for SpringerPlus

University of California, San Francisco


1-Electronic Health Records Overview, National Institute of Health, National Center for research Resources, April 2006, Mitre Corporation

2-Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), 2012, Lund University Libraries. www.doaj.org

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