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Chiropractic Journal of Australia : December 2011
Chiropractic Journal of Australia Volume 41 Number 4 December 2011 153 The Chiropractic Journal of Australia is published by the Chiropractors' Association of Australia (National) Limited (CAAN), the peak body representing chiropractors in Australia. Over the past few years the dramatically changing publication environment has presented a number of challenges to the Editorial Board, not the least being the question of how the Journal can best keep pace with a world in which matters of record are frst identifed or indexed so they can be found, and second, distributed and then utilised by end-users. To date the prime indexing agency of relevance has been the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine1 through its arm known as PubMed.2 It is tempting at this time to think of this as "the traditional method" for indexing but the reality is this is just a transient approach that appeared over the last two decades and is fading under the weight of the all- encompassing GoogleTM "machine" and the rise of publisher- owned indexing agencies. In addition the NCBI process seems to have become a "closed club of comfort" where political bias against chiropractic has kept our literature marginalised; try as we have over the past years this Journal, which more than meets all stated requirements for indexing with PubMed, has remained excluded from the club by a faceless, nameless committee of supposed indexing experts. There are ways around marginalisation that include acts such as selling one's soul through a back-door however the Journal remains committed to ethical principles and its prime purpose, and to this end has invested time and energy to think about a new approach to the publication and indexing of matters of record for the chiropractic profession. The Editorial Board has noted the somewhat audacious decision in 2001 of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which made most of its teaching materials free and publicly accessible.3 MIT decided to use the internet to provide access to its learning materials to anyone, anywhere in the world. It is reported that "making faculty members' efforts in teaching and learning openly available to the world has brought signifcant tangible benefts to the institution.”3 The Editorial Board has been working closely with its publisher, your Association, to determine a model that could take this Journal to a new level of convenience for the 3,000 or so members of the CAAN so that it may make a stronger and more powerful contribution to the research community, every educator and researcher, and indeed, to members of the public with whom a member may wish to share a paper. To this end we are pleased to announce that from Volume 42, Issue 1, due March 2012, this Journal will be offered in an on-line format. Each issue will be preceded by an e-mail to members alerting them to the contents, in the same manner as with The Australian Chiropractor. The meaning of going on-line may best be explained as follows. As noted above, there are two matters of importance: indexing (identifcation), which is the mechanism by which someone fnds a paper of interest; and distribution, which is Embracing Tomorrow through Information Democracy the manner by which someone accesses the information they have found and subsequently utilises it. The Editorial Board holds the view that elitist data bases such as PubMed have probably become irrelevant and that the power of the internet is supreme. In this world, anyone can now search any term and as long as the term is set as a meta-tag on a 'web page' (the format in which an on-line paper exists), then anyone can locate the information. In this sense, information-democracy becomes a reality and the faceless club, irrelevant. The remaining opportunity is about who can put the found information to use, which is "distribution." To this end the CAAN has agreed that the content published in this Journal will be available more quickly and easily to members who wish to use it to support their further learning and understanding. This sounds simple and indeed it is, as well as eloquent and fnancially sensible. The estimated savings to your Association with on-line publication will be in the order of $50,000 per year, a not insignifcant sum. The degree to which this access is extended to other chiropractors around the world remains under discussion. Ideally your Editors would like every author whose work meets the stringent requirements for publication in this Journal to become a household name in the global chiropractic community and we shall continue to work to achieve this, along with a deeper engagement in various indexing systems. We really have the power to transform chiropractic literature from being an obscure collection of articles tucked away in what one reader recently verbalised to the Assistant Editor as "that blue magazine" to where every article and every author becomes a player on the global stage, indexed and instantly available by the sheer power of the internet. Your Editors are under no illusion we will get it right the frst time in March, nor maybe the second in June. But we have pilots in process and are playing actively behind the scenes to bring you the best experience possible. And yes, the Editorial Board understands and appreciates that most chiropractic journals have a web-presence and a couple4,5 have their content on-line and openly available, however this Journal aims to go to the next level and provide an integrated reader-experience beyond a simple listing of pdfs to be one that offers a tangible on-screen engagement to replicate the readers' experience with paper-based publications. The Editorial Board warmly invite you to come along with us for the ride, knowing we are all driven by our deep love and passion for chiropractic and our burning desire to experience 'information access' anytime, anywhere, in the world. We believe we will raise the standing of this Journal in its feld and set a new standard in formal publication for the profession. In this sense we take a further step towards the mission of the journal enunciated by Drs Rolf E. Peters and Mary Ann Chance on assumption of co-editorship in the 1980s: "... it is we ourselves who must expose the science, art and philosophy of chiropractic to public scrutiny through research and through publishing our fndings, hypotheses and practical
CJA March 2012