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D. Collingridge

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    SC31 - Together Against Lung Cancer - A Strategy for Success in the 21st Century (ID 355)

    • Event: WCLC 2016
    • Type: Science Session
    • Track: Regional Aspects/Health Policy/Public Health
    • Presentations: 1
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      SC31.03 - The Role of Medical Journals (ID 6733)

      14:30 - 15:45  |  Author(s): D. Collingridge

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      The role of medical journals David Collingridge Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet Oncology and Publishing Director, The Lancet Specialty Journals, 125 London Wall, London EC2Y 5AS, United Kingdom; Clinical Associate Professor of Radiation Medicine, Hofstra/Northwell Health, Lake Success, NY, USA. For many years the traditional peer-reviewed medical journal was seen to be the only reliable place to obtain the latest advances in science and medicine. But, with the advent of online depositiories, information services and feeds, news services, preprint servers, data-sharing, and open access, to name just a few recent innovations, the role of the medical journal is changing. Whilst it is true to say that for many physicians, certain journals are still seen as an authorative voice and a vital source of validated data to inform practice, this isn’t the case for all—indeed, any reasonably reputable source of information, especially if easily available online, is increasingly considered to be a valid fount of medical evidence. So what is the role of the medical journal in the online era? How do medical journals remain relevent, continue to offer a valuable resource of practice-defining information, and play a important and collaborative role with their respective communities? How do medical journals not succumb to the fate of the newspaper or music industries, in which the online revolution has caused considerable upheaval—which many might argue has not resulted in a postive evolutionary change for the betterment of all stakeholders? The central tenet for any medical journal is publication of trustworthy data that have been thoroughly reviewed and challenged prior to publication to ensure the interpretation is accuate, honest, and will not cause harm if used in the real world. Moreover, a good medical journal should be much more than this, and must show leadership; take risks; distil the most important information to a time-poor readership; provide innovative ways of linking disparate, but inter-related, strands of information to a readership that no longer reads cover-to-cover; and encourage scientific debate rather than simply reporting it. A good contemporary medical journal therefore needs to be more than just a mirror reflecting the lastest research or thinking without contest: it must inform and drive research and clinical practice forwards. There are multiple ways in which this can be achieved. First, a journal must offer a impartial platform for presentation of data and discussion of ideas without prejudice, and ensure studies are reported rigourously, transparently, and honestly. The activities of an unconflicted editorial team and well-qualified peer reviewers are vital in this regard, as is the application of reporting standards to ensure all data and analyses are captured accurately. Second, journals have a responsibility to ensure the ethical integrity of everything they publish. Journals should be active members of independent ethics organisations and uphold the highest standards. If any suspicion of misconduct occurs surrounding a published article, reputable journals should always investgiate such allegations, which often relate to issues such as: research conduct; reproducibility of data; unethical behaviour in the laboratory or institution; plagarism; withholding of pertinent data and misreporting; conflicts of interests; authorship disputes; or compliance with prevailing governance structures. Academic institutions take these issues very seriously because of the ramifications for their own integity, and thus journals and instititions must work together to root-out any misconduct and ensure the medical literature is trustworthy and organisations practice science and medicine of the highest standards. Third, journals can help further the practice of good science by taking a leadership role in forward-focused programmes. Recent examples include the team science programmes in the UK and USA, and the REWARD initiative. The UK Academy of Medical Sciences Team Science project has been focused on how biomedical researchers can be encouraged, supported, and rewarded for participating in team-based collaborations—editors and publishers are clear stakeholders in this debate; whilst the REWARD (REduce research Waste And Reward Diligence) campaign encourages everyone involved in biomedical research to critically examine the way they work to reduce waste and maximise efficiency via five guiding principles: setting the right research priorities; using robust research design, conduct, and analysis; making sure regulation and management are proportionate to risks; ensuring all information on research methods and findings are accessible; and guaranteeing reports of research are complete and usable. Finally, a fifth role for medical journals is to take an dynamic part in advocating change, leading the direction of future research, and actively participating in health policy reform and in initiatives to promote universal access to medicine. The Lancet Oncology’s advocacy programme, for example, maps out the inequalities and inequities in health systems worldwide, and highlights deficiencies in all aspects of cancer care, health policy, structural organisation, and leadership. The programme offers a impartial platform that brings together thought-leaders from across different disciplines and organisations to offer solutions to those barriers that hinder provision of high quality cancer control, irrespective of socioeconomic status or country of residence. The journal achieves this via specific, dedicated undertakings including Commissions, series of inter-related papers on specific themes, targeted articles, conferences, and events. The medical journal in the 21[st] century must evolve from being a simple record of research to an engaged stakeholder advocating and leading change in the practice of medicine. Journals should aim to be platforms that bring together communities and thought-leaders rather than disenfranchise groups in to silos. The world has never been as interconnected as it is today, and it is only by working together with a clear vision that journals, hand-in-hand with the communities they serve, will achieve the progress needed to promote the best research and health policies to improve healthcare for all.

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