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The Future of Surgical Journals

Patrick L. Twomey, MD
Arch Surg. 1995;130(7):749-750. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430070071013.
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IN 1989 when Fleischmann and Pons claimed to have produced room temperature fusion, the ensuing flashes of discussion and reports of attempts at confirmation were transacted largely by fax. When comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit Jupiter, the first images of the event were disseminated instantly on the Internet. The exciting claim by Princeton mathematician Andrew Wiles to have proved Fermat's 350-year-old Last Theorem is now being scrutinized and fleshed out in fermat@e-math.ams.org.

Medical students of today no longer have folders filled with torn-out magazine articles and file card cross-references. They are fluent with MEDLINE, CD-ROMs, and databases with automatic E-mail updates on topics of their choice.

What then is the future of paper journals, such as Archives of Surgery? Scholarly journals in and out of medicine serve several functions, including dissemination, discrimination (ie, editing), summarization, and archiving.

DISSEMINATION AND RETRIEVAL  For material that is not time sensitive, paper journals, even those


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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