Medical publishing in a digital world: new world, new standards?

Paul Schoenhagen, Lorraine E. Ferris, Margaret A. Winker


Publishing standards of medical journals have evolved over decades and have been heavily influenced by the experience with print-based journals, which continue to be the gold standard for many aspects of medical publishing despite the increasing digitalization of all forms of communication (1,2). However, the entire publishing process (manuscript preparation, submission, review, revision, proofs, publishing) is now a digital one. This trend is also obvious in how journals are used. While some print journal copies may still be read cover-to-cover, most scientists and clinicians search online and read articles either in digital form (e.g., on computer screens, cell phones, or other mobile devices) or after printing a pdf or HTML version (3). While many of the highest-impact journals in cardiovascular medicine remain traditional print journals, it is therefore not surprising that these and other journals have developed and expanded their online presence.