It is official. The venerable New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) is a paper journal no more. Just visit the NEJM website to see what you have been missing if you have limited yourself only to the paper version of the journal. There is a slew of Web 2.0 and interactive features. I have been interested in the way medical journals use RSS (Really Simple Syndication), podcasts, videos, etc. for a while and was recently consulted by The Lancet to comment on their plain to introduce new tools to their website. Looking at the NEJM site, I have to say that there is a reason why they are still the leading authority in the medical publishing world. This is a list of some of the features a visitor encounters when landing on the NEJM homepage (see the screenshot below):
- Audio summary -- streaming audio and podcasts
- Interactive decision making tool using the "wisdom of crowds" concept
- Video of a roundtable discussion
- RSS Feeds
- Image challenge which also uses the "wisdom of crowds"
- Procedure videos
- Lists of Most Viewed, Most E-Mailed, Most Blogged, etc. articles
- "Listen to the full text of this article" feature
The homepage of NEJM is full of Web 2.0 features -- circled in red in the screenshot above. There are even more tools on the beta page of the journal at: http://beta.nejm.org/
In conclusion, the NEJM is using so many interactive features that it is putting even the most advanced blogs to shame. Comments are not available yet but this addition must surely be planned for not too distant future.
In recent years, the leading medical journals have become much more than a print medium for articles. The NEJM has gone beyond the RSS feeds and has created features which compel the reader to visit the website -- the ultimate goal of a portal site. RSS is so useful that if one can read it all in a RSS reader, there is little reason to click through the website. The NEJM seems to have found an elegant solution to this problem.
Try Web 2.0 in Medicine
I have collected RSS feeds and podcasts from the major journals in one-click subscription for iGoogle. Give it a try to see if it works for you:
RSS feeds of the major medical journals -- NEJM, JAMA, BMJ, Lancet and Annals and more
Podcasts of the 4 major journals
Make Your Own "Medical Journal" with iGoogle Personalized Page
Share iGoogle Tabs with Medical Journals, Podcasts and Gadgets
Annals of Internal Medicine Launches Podcast and Audio Summaries