The new leadership of The Journal has been confronted with a formidable challenge as well as an opportunity. The rapid advent of the electronic age has shaken the foundations of the publishing industry and left all in a quandary, trying to identify strategies to survive and perhaps to thrive in a new paradigm where the dissemination of bountiful information is cheap, while the delivery of high-quality peer-reviewed knowledge remains expensive.
The Journal's crown jewels are its reputation for integrity and its content. These jewels remain untarnished because authors seek to send their most important work to The Journal and a rigorous peer-review process by the best minds in our profession further distills the information and clarifies its meaning. We at The Journal will continue to carry out its primary mission - presenting the most important new scientific knowledge to the orthopaedic community - but we recognize that without further innovations this mission may be endangered. We have concluded, therefore, that it is essential to go forward with new ideas that capture the remarkable promise of the Internet.
The Journal's Web site was introduced in November 19961. Current search capabilities include search by free text query, by subject, or by author as well as the capability to search a specific volume of The Journal. Full text of the articles from 1996 to the present may be downloaded for free by subscribers and for a fee by nonsubscribers. There are helpful links to other journals and search engines in the field of musculoskeletal medicine and surgery.
The next step in the development of our Web site is to use the audio, video, and text capabilities of the Internet to enhance the value of our printed articles so that the reader will receive a more valuable product. Since The Journal is published monthly, we view the intervening time on the Web site as an opportunity to increase the value of published articles by presenting electronic supplements of related educational materials and resources. We seek to utilize the Web as another way for our readers to interact with us and, by embracing this new medium to its fullest, to attract new readers to a journal that is both print and Web-based. Consequently, in each month's edition of The Journal, we will publish a table of contents listing the features to be found on the Web site. We invite you to visit the eJBJS at www.jbjs.org.
We are pleased to announce that this year we will partner with HighWire Press of Stanford University to develop this new and more robust Web site. HighWire Press is the Web-site developer and electronic publisher for 191 scientific journals, including Science and the British Medical Journal.
The new Web site will offer the following features:
1. Customization of the home page by orthopaedic subspecialty interest. We will offer a customized home page so that a surgeon can have access to an archive of the articles that have been published in his or her area of special interest and be able to link to the subject matter of specialty journals, texts, and multimedia resources that pertain to that area.
2. Capability to build unique subject files by collating searches from multiple sources. Search software will enable a surgeon to identify articles of interest from multiple sites and collect them electronically in a subject file. Thus, a surgeon searching for "carpal tunnel syndrome" might build links to download articles from The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery,The Journal of Hand Surgery, The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and so on, and store them in an electronic file entitled Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This would be a dynamic file, allowing additions and deletions, and could be printed by the surgeon as his or her own "textbook" at any time. We envision the capability to also include a feature that will allow a subscriber to add multimedia products such as excerpts from CD-ROMs, videotapes, and so on to the file.
3. Article enhancements. Selected printed articles, particularly articles that present basic science, will be enhanced with Web commentaries and electronic publication of additional materials that do not appear in the print version of The Journal in an effort to put the meaning of the new information into context and to assess its current relevance to clinical practice.
4. Search capabilities. The Web site will enable the user to search past and current editions of The Journal, to display the current contents, to download and print full-text versions of current or past articles as text or PDF files, and to link to major journal sites for additional searching.
5. Interactivity. The Web site will enable interactivity that allows the user to respond to questionnaires, to renew subscriptions, and to communicate by means of electronic mail. We will have the capability to host online journal clubs and electronic conversations with authors.
6. Online reviews. We will review selected electronic educational products such as CD-ROMs and videotapes and include voice and video screen-capture supplements to the text.
We anticipate that our new Web site will be online by February 2001.
In this issue of The Journal, we introduce a new feature of the Web site: the Video Segment. Three to six-minute video segments will supplement selected print articles in The Journal. In this issue, two video segments are presented to supplement the article "Development of a Virtual Reality Arthroscopic Knee Simulator," by Poss et al., in the American Orthopaedic Association Symposium. These segments illustrate a prototype virtual reality arthroscopic knee simulator and methods by which surgical simulators can be used to quantify surgical proficiency.
Furthermore, we are proud to announce an alliance between The Journal and the Video Journal of Orthopaedics to produce monthly video segments and full-length videotapes to supplement articles that relate to aspects of surgical technique. VJO has produced more than 300 videotapes of orthopaedic procedures. Articles will be selected by means of the traditional peer-review process, and then the Editors will identify ones that lend themselves to video enhancement; VJO will work with the authors to produce a videotape. A short video segment of the tape will be published on the Web site during the month that the article is published. The video segment will be free to all readers of The Journal; the full thirty-minute videotape may be purchased from VJO. The first JBJS/VJO video segment illustrates an article in this issue: "The Chevron Osteotomy for Correction of Hallux Valgus. Comparison of Findings After Two and Five Years of Follow-up," by Trnka et al.
The new paradigm, then, finds The Journal capable of remaining true to its fundamental mission of selecting and publishing the most important scientific advances in our field. As we explore the promise of the Internet, each article will assume a richer texture and be viewed as the core of an educational packet that includes a variety of electronic enhancements.
What other electronic resources would you, as a user of the new eJBJS, like us to provide? We invite the suggestions of the orthopaedic community regarding features of and improvements to the Web site because, in the final analysis, it is The Journal's function to provide the best and fullest presentation of new knowledge in the clearest and most educational formats to its readers.
Robert Poss, M.D.
Deputy Editor for Electronic Media
James D. Heckman, M.D.