“WHY don't we see more reports from Anesthesiology in the lay press?” asked Editorial Board member Evan Kharasch, M.D., Ph.D. (Professor and Director, Clinical Research Division, Department of Anesthesiology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri), at last year's Annual Meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. “A press release highlighting an important Anesthesiology article each month would help educate the public about our discoveries and potential impact on the care they receive, and help promote the specialty.”
Good question! It's not that we don't publish important new discoveries in perioperative, critical care, or pain medicine that would be of interest to local or national print or Web press. Rather, we're not promoting these new discoveries on current and future clinical care to the public and, ironically, to ourselves.
We are proud to announce three interrelated initiatives to help remedy this situation. First, with this month's issue we begin an active press release program. Four articles of potential interest to the public and other physicians will be selected each month, and descriptions will be commissioned for review by the authors, ourselves, and American Society of Anesthesiologists leadership and released to the press by the American Society of Anesthesiologists through the most widely disseminated press release service for medical research. Authors and experts will be invited to comment on their findings, and the authors' institutions will be notified in advance of the release.
Second, the Journal's home page, http://www.anesthesiology.org, has been extensively redesigned to highlight key articles for each issue, including those released to the press. Highlighted articles on the Journal's home page will also include those of particular interest to anesthesiologists, including continuing medical education offerings and review articles.
Anesthesiology will remain the leader in our specialty regarding open access by providing the full content, in both HTML and PDF format, of these highlighted articles on the home page free to all immediately upon release of each issue. This is in addition to our existing policy of free and open access to all of our content 6 months after publication. We are confident that free immediate access to highlighted articles will further enhance their impact.
Third, we have redesigned the “This Month” feature in the print journal. This list of highlighted articles, which immediately follows the masthead and immediately precedes the full table of contents, has been completely redesigned to fit on one page and provide our readers with a convenient place to quickly scan highlighted articles. There will be considerable if not complete overlap between the articles in the “This Month” page and the Journal's home page, including those released to the press.
Why all this effort? First, to make the Journal more accessible to our subscribers. But mostly to address a crisis in research in our specialty, our inability to attract the best minds into anesthesiology and perioperative medicine. This was most recently highlighted by Dr. J. Gerald Reves in his E. A. Rovenstine address.1 Anesthesiology is the practice of medicine, and we are addressing questions of importance to the public and to all of medicine. As stated by Professors Evers and Miller in their editorial that accompanied Professor Reves' address, “Before we can invigorate research, we must identify, publicize, and embrace the problems that need to be solved. Compelling and solvable problems will attract the best and brightest to our field.”2
That's worth going to the press for!