One of the roles of the co–editors-in-chief is to dialogue with clinicians about the publishing process as well as topics and trends of interest for our specialty. We have realized that some readers may not be familiar with our “published ahead-of-print” and “online-only” modalities. With this prompt, our editorial was born.
When the journal was first published in 1988, each subscriber received a printed copy of the journal four times a year. There was no online presence for the journal; clinicians eagerly awaited their “hard copy.” Content was static and unchangeable after press time, barring a retraction or correction in a future issue.1 Nowadays, online publication has enabled us to be much more agile and deliver content in multiple timely ways. As Marshall McLuhan,2 a Canadian professor, philosopher, and public intellectual stated, “The medium is the message.” McLuhan2 believes that each new medium is a potential extension of ourselves (eg, speech leads to writing, and writing leads to the printed word) that adds a new scale into our affairs (eg, the introduction of online publishing increases agility).
Advances in Skin and Wound Care is dedicated to taking full advantage of new opportunities to inform our readers, beyond simply publishing online versions of content alongside print. In 2019, skin and wound health professionals still eagerly await each new issue, but they do not want to wait; they want the latest research as quickly as possible. The advent of the internet and our journal’s website provides a platform to electronically publish selected manuscripts so that our subscribers can read an article before it appears in the printed journal. Called “published ahead-of-print,” this category comprises articles that will appear in an upcoming printed issue. They can be found on www.woundcarejournal.com. (Under the Issues tab, in the dropdown menu, click “Published Ahead-of-Print.” You can also subscribe to the journal’s Published Ahead-of-Print Alerts.) This gives our readers the opportunity to access cutting-edge material prior to the hard copy of the journal reaching them in the mail. For example, a commentary by Dr Jeffrey Levine entitled Historical Perspective on Pressure Injury Classification: The Legacy of J. Darrel Shea will be published ahead-of-print before the end of the month. It will also appear in print as part of the special focus on pressure injuries in the March issue.
Be assured that these papers have undergone the same rigorous peer-review process as all of our manuscripts and have been formally accepted for publication in Advances. Each of these articles, available in PDF, has its own unique DOI (digital object identifier) number that carries over into print publication and can be cited using the date of access. However, it is important to note that there may still be edits and changes made to the final printed version of the journal manuscript as well as the final electronic version.
Articles published ahead-of-print are not the same as the Online Exclusives that we wrote about in our December editorial.3 Given the number of quality manuscripts we receive every year and the printed page constraints with which we contend, publishing important research online is another valuable solution we implement to ensure clinicians and researchers have access to the very latest information. Once again, all of these online-only manuscripts are peer reviewed, accepted for publication, edited, formatted, and indexed in PubMed and other databases. The difference is that they are only published electronically on the Advances website.
The next time you are exploring our website, you may notice another tab called “Collections.” Here you will find key articles published in the journal organized by topic. These include a Best of 2018 collection and other content on burn wounds, deep tissue injury, diabetic foot ulcers, palliative care, scars, skin integrity, skin imaging, venous leg ulcers, wound infection, wound pain, and more. Clinicians are welcome to request a collection or search our archives (dating back to our very first issue) for a specific topic.
All of these resources are approaches to facilitating access to the latest evidence and information. Take a moment to reflect on your current professional development and how you can use these new modalities to enhance patient care outcomes.
Elizabeth A. Ayello, PhD, RN, CWON, ETN, MAPWCA, FAAN
R. Gary Sibbald, MD, DSc (Hons), MEd, BSc, FRCPC (Med Derm), FAAD, MAPWCA, JM