QUALITY INFORMATION FOR SOLVING CLINICAL PROBLEMS
Dr. John P. O'Keefe
|Picture a dentist, confronted
with a particular clinical problem, sitting in front of a computer in the office and
retrieving the information needed to solve that problem with a few clicks of the mouse.
Fantastic you say? Not so. Medical and dental students today, are being taught to search
for information from huge databases to help them solve clinical problems.
As we develop the Journal, I believe we should keep in focus the goal of providing information to solve problems. Every change we make will be geared toward helping you find useful information and assess its quality. You may notice some changes in the Journal this month. These initial changes are intended to make the publication more readable.
The Journal will evolve as we strive to make the CDA an integrated source of useful clinical and scientific information. By this, I mean that the Journal will be developing even closer working relationships with the CDA Resource Centre, Professional Services Department and Conventions Department to bring you information that will help you practice good dentistry.
The On-Line Journal
The online version of the Journal is now accessible from the public side of the CDA web site (www.cda-adc.ca). Initially, we will be posting full-text scientific and clinical articles under the Current Issue and the Back Issues sections of the site. There are also links to additional information for readers, authors, subscribers and advertisers.
Please visit the site and give us your feedback. This site will grow and develop in the months ahead. Your feedback will help it improve. I believe that electronic publishing has the potential to revolutionize the way the Journal does business. In the future, I can see us publishing shorter articles in the print version of the Journal. The online version can be the vehicle for extra information that authors want to convey to interested readers.
Thinking Of Our Readers
Beginning this month, we are changing the format for presenting abstracts of articles. We hope the busy reader can skim through the abstracts and quickly get the essentials of the information contained in the articles. Wherever possible, abstracts will be structured with subheadings. Applied research articles will have a feature that indicates their clinical significance.
The key words that appear at the end of abstracts are Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). These are the terms that Medline, the information database run by the National Library of Medicine in the U.S., uses to classify medical and dental articles. If you search Medline, using these key words, you will retrieve articles that are similar to those presented in our Journal. We include this feature to help readers find additional information about subjects that interest them.
In addition, the Journal sends each author of a clinical or scientific article a questionnaire asking them to disclose any financial interest in companies making the types of products mentioned in their article. Starting this month, we will include a statement at the end of each article indicating the authors responses to the questionnaire. I believe that transparency in the issue of financial interest is helpful to our readers.
A Message To Authors
For the past few editions, we have not placed advertisements in the body of clinical or scientific articles. I know this is important in terms of citations and reprints. We hope to continue with this policy. Shorter articles will make it easier for us to succeed.
The impact factor of a journal is an important consideration for university- based authors when they are deciding where to submit manuscripts. Our journal does not have an impact factor because the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) hasnt indexed it since 1977. The ISI has agreed to evaluate the Journal with an eye to potentially indexing it again. I believe our dental faculty members will be crucial to the development of the Journal. You know how we can develop an impact factor. Lets do it!
To ensure that articles are of high quality, we subject them to peer review. At present, we are devising a new peer review process that will be clear to all. We are also conducting some experiments to see if we can speed up the process. Starting this month, we will clearly indicate which articles have been peer reviewed.
You Know What You Need
The information needs of readers must drive this Journal. One of the initiatives I am taking to assess these needs, is to set up an e-mail contact network. This network will include representatives from all groups in the profession, across Canada. I urge the presidents, deans, registrars and executive directors of all dental organizations in the country to nominate a contact person for the Journal. I look forward to hearing from you.
John P. O'Keefe