Online publishing will quicken debate

LETTER — Posted Aug. 15, 2011

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Regarding "Adapting JAMA for tomorrow's physician readers: An interview with Howard C. Bauchner, MD" (Article, July 25):

New JAMA Editor Dr. Bauchner mentioned how electronic publishing would accelerate the arrival of new information to readers, reaching them in weeks, not months. Getting new information to readers quickly cannot be emphasized enough.

Slowness in publication subverts the whole purpose of communication.

When authors write opinion pieces or respond to them and then wait months to see their pieces in print or to see responses to them, their desire to write wanes. Good ideas may never be communicated. And readers who may want to respond are similarly discouraged.

Authors write and expect communication to take root. Why write if not to start dialogue? Communication must be a two-way affair. Pro and con are the life blood of any communication, whether the topic is scientific or in the realm of medical affairs.

It makes one wonder how much the quality of our dialogue will be enriched as electronic publishing makes it more closely to real-time dialogue.

Socrates would have been very much in favor of the possibilities of electronic publishing.

Edward J. Volpintesta, MD, Bethel, Conn.

Editor's note: The interview cited in this letter was published online only at amednews.com.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/08/15/edlt0815.htm.

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