We are pleased to announce that over the coming months we will be adding several new features to Anesthesia & Analgesia that will greatly enhance our online presence and enable our readers and authors to take advantage of the speed and convenience of the Internet. Most immediately, we will begin to provide online submission and review of video files and for the posting of these files to our Web site. In its debut appearance this feature will be called “Echocardiography Online,” reflecting the fact that the initial creative spark and much of the early planning originated from our affiliate Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists. Obviously, however, there are a variety of possible applications for video files, either as stand-alone features or as supplements to a printed text. (They have great potential for enhancing CME, for example.) Before long, therefore, we should expect to see a much broader use of this capability and an expansion of its appeal to a larger segment of the anesthesiology readership.
Of special interest to our affiliate organizations, work is now underway to implement a new subject/key word cross-referencing system for our online journal–one that will allow for rapid cross-subject searches between related subject areas (such as cardiovascular anesthesia and pediatric cardiology, for example). This new “tagging” system should also have the effect of increasing the number of articles attributed to each section, and will eliminate much of the tedium and busy work associated with cross-subject searching. A bit later on, readers of our online journal will have the advantage of viewing certain key articles before they are published. This “publish ahead of print” feature will allow us to post especially timely articles online almost immediately after they have been accepted and weeks before they would ordinarily appear in their printed form. Finally, before the end of the year, we will begin an electronic streamlining of our in-house editorial capabilities through adoption of a new manuscript review system. This system will allow for manuscripts to be handled almost exclusively online from submission through the peer review process and into printed and online formats.
Anesthesia & Analgesia has changed considerably over the past decade. More affiliates have joined us, enhancing and expanding the concept of a “journal within a journal” and broadening the journal’s impact and appeal. And even before A&A became available online, we had begun to take advantage of newer electronic innovations by joining several other journals to make our content available on CD-ROM. Nonetheless, one senses that the latest changes and additions made possible by Internet technology, though impressive, are probably only a small part of a still broader transformation taking place in the realm of medical publishing.
The end result of this transformation is difficult to predict. To those of us who began our careers in earlier and seemingly simpler times, the remarkable speed with which these new technologies have come upon us seems almost dizzying. But even as access to medical intelligence becomes faster, and formats become more and more appealing, it is still the quality of thought and expression that matters most. While we remain committed to taking advantage of technological advances as they become available, we will also remember that these innovations, impressive as they are, will always be secondary to, and in the service of, a more important and fundamental commitment to identify and bring to light the best available research and clinical experience and to put it within easy reach of the international anesthesia community.