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Juliet Dobson: Open journalism and social media

24 Sep, 12 | by BMJ Group

Juliet DobsonThe Guardian is well known for being at the forefront of journalism and for pushing forward ever more innovative ways of covering the news. A talk at King’s Place on Friday 14 September looked at how journalism is changing and how social media, particularly Twitter, are changing the way news is reported and read.

The talk was by Dan Roberts, national editor, Guardian. He opened the discussion by looking back to his first job at a local paper. I loved his description of working in an office that was above the printing presses. He said you could feel the hum and vibrations of the presses in the office as the papers were printed. It was a very industrial process and this was reflected in the way journalists worked. Journalists wrote and readers consumed. The papers were printed and then delivered in lorries all around the country. But now, in the 21st century, this producer-consumer balance has shifted as smartphones have given everyone the ability to gather information and publish it. more…

Richard Smith: Is the BMJ too sensitive about libel?

19 Sep, 12 | by BMJ Group

Richard SmithI must begin by making clear that I think the BMJ magnificent, much improved from when I was the editor. I particularly applaud the introduction of indepth investigative journalism. I’m also extremely grateful to the journal for publishing my blogs, some of which seem to push close to the edge of sanity. But I want to reflect on the question of whether the journal is too sensitive about the threat of a libel action. The question arises because the journal wants to change a blog I’ve written for fear of libel, and I think that the editors are being overcautious. more…

Vivienne Bachelet: Medical editorial and publishing worlds – are they working together or not in the Chilean outback

14 Nov, 11 | by BMJ Group

I am writing from London and due to get back home in a few days. Home for me is Santiago, Chile, a beautiful place to live in and to visit. My stay in the UK has been extremely fruitful, and it all started on a medical editor’s course held last week in Oxford.

You may have guessed that I travelled far to attend this course. I did this because I felt I had become stuck in Chile and needed the fresh air of a high level exchange of experiences and an exposure to new trends in the medical editorial field. As a Chilean defence minister once said after the 9/11 attacks… Chile is a bit eccentric. Our eccentricity stems from our distance from where top journals and research are based, but also from the fact that we do not master the English language. more…

David Payne: Happy 13th birthday, (scary) Google

27 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

David Payne In Washington DC last week Google CEO Eric Schmidt defended the company’s business practices when he appeared before a Senate antitrust panel. Down the road at Georgetown University the following day, his colleague Darcy Dapra was doing a similar thing to an audience of scholarly publishers.

Mr Schmidt’s appearance was to reject claims that Google, which celebrates its 13th birthday this week, gives its growing portfolio of online business preferred placements in search results. more…

Gaurav Gulsin, Sachin Gupta, Mostafa El Dafrawi: Read it and weep

14 Sep, 11 | by BMJ

In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on keeping up to date with the current scientific literature. To practise evidence based medicine, we have to constantly read and appraise medical journals, and implement (or disregard) their teachings into our everyday work. This means that students and clinicians alike are required to read more and more published research. There is, however, a bit of a problem with this: scientific journals are becoming more and more difficult to read and understand. more…

Tony Delamothe: The spoken word

12 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

Tony DelamotheI spent Friday afternoon at three sessions on The Spoken Word at King’s Place, London.

The first featured the editor of the New Statesman and a stand in for the editor of the Spectator. (James Forsyth – a star columnist on the Spectator and Mail on Sunday).

Both talked about the importance to their publications of being read by a significant proportion of opinion leaders (of the left and right respectively). more…

Stephen Ginn: First impressions on being the BMJ’s editorial registrar

11 Aug, 11 | by BMJ Group

Stephen GinnLast Wednesday I joined the BMJ as the Roger Robinson editorial registrar. This is my first despatch from the frontline of medical publishing.

The registrar role has been running for 22 years and is named after the late Professor Robinson who was an associate editor at the BMJ for ten years. It’s for one year and allows the post holder to take a break from clinical practice and develop skills in medical journalism and editing. This sounded like an excellent opportunity to me as I’ve been interested in writing and publishing since medical school.  more…

Richard Smith: Scientific communication is returning to its roots

26 Jul, 11 | by BMJ Group

Richard SmithA compelling piece in the Economist argues that social media are returning news to the “more vibrant, freewheeling, and discursive ways of the pre-industrial era” and that newspapers will prove to have been a historical aberration. The same, I think, will be true of scientific journals. more…

Liz Wager: How should editors respond to plagiarism?

7 Jul, 11 | by BMJ Group

Liz WagerGross plagiarism is easy to spot and most people agree it’s wrong, so it’s relatively easy to deal with. But while stealing somebody else’s paper and pretending it’s your own is obvious misconduct, it’s surprisingly hard to define exactly what plagiarism is, especially for more minor offences. It would be helpful if we could agree a definition of plagiarism (or a classification of different types) so that editors (and teachers) could decide how they should handle it/them. Editors now have access to powerful text-matching software (such as CrossCheck or even a simple Google™ search). It’s now easy to discover the percentage of text in one document that matches text in another (or several others). But it’s much more difficult to know what those numbers mean. In fact, one editor I know says that the numbers are meaningless (although she admits that the tools are helpful for flagging up possible problems and then looking for large matches). more…

Richard Smith: Might copies of PLoS ONE change journals forever?

29 Mar, 11 | by BMJ Group

Richard SmithI continue to be amazed that despite the appearance of the internet, which some have compared with the invention of fire, our methods for disseminating scientific studies are essentially the same as they were 50 years ago. We still have journals, and, although papers have electronic versions, those papers are indistinguishable from those of 50 years ago. I’m constantly searching for the “disruptive innovation” that will change everything. more…

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