There are 25,400 scientific journals and their number is increasing by 3.5% a year

More scientific and medical papers are being published now than ever before. Is it possible to be an expert nowadays, asks BMJ.

Every doctor has an ethical duty to keep up to date. Is this just getting more difficult or has it already become impossible? Since Alvin Toffler coined the phrase “information overload” in 1970, the growth of scientific and medical information has been inexorable.

There are now 25 400 journals in science, technology, and medicine, and their number is increasing by 3.5% a year; in 2009, they published 1.5 million articles. PubMed now cites more than 20 million papers.

One response of the medical profession to the increasing scientific basis and clinical capacity of medicine has been to increase subspecialisation. This may restrict the breadth of knowledge of the ultraspecialist, but can such subspecialists still maintain their depth of expertise?

I described my approach in 5 Tips to Stay Up-to-Date with Medical Literature:

1. RSS Feeds for Medical Journals.
2. Podcasts.
3. Persistent Searches on PubMed, Google News and Google.
4. Text-to-speech (TTS) for journal articles.
5. Blogs and Twitter accounts.

If you have a blog or Twitter account, you can try to deal with the information overload from blogs, RSS and Twitter more efficiently by using this:

The circle of online information (click to enlarge).


On the impossibility of being expert. BMJ 2010; 341:c6815 doi: 10.1136/bmj.c6815.
5 Tips to Stay Up-to-Date with Medical Literature
The scientific journal through the centuries - a little bit of history from Health Librarian (HL) Wiki

Comments from Twitter:

MediaMed @MediTwitt: Isn't it too much? @DrVes: 25,400 scientific journals and their number is increasing by 3.5% a year

Anand Segar @drsegar_nz: that is crazy. Totally unnecessary.

1 comment:

  1. JournalTOCs (a free service) makes keeping up-to-date with scholarly journals easy. You don't even need to understand RSS. There are several thousand medicall journals included in JournalTOCs.