Dr Catherine Kennedy reflects on the positive feedback from a MedEdPublish workshop at AMEE2015 and looks ahead to changes in publishing.
This year I attended my third AMEE conference, and for the third time took part in workshops on MedEdPublish. Much has changed during the short time I have worked at AMEE, both within medical education and within knowledge production and communication generally, and sometimes it can feel that you are sprinting to keep up. This year, however, I felt a positive and open reception to our developments within MedEdPublish.
MedEdPublish is an initiative launched by AMEE in 2012 in response to concerns regarding the quantity of sound and informative papers on medical education that were not being published. Proliferation of research and expectations for publications by academic institutions means that supply has far outstripped the space available in traditional peer review journals. Alongside this a massive change in the opportunities for sharing information has occurred, and of the speed of dissemination. Revolutions through the internet and social media may be argued to make a mockery of the time delays and closed shop associated with traditional peer-review publishing. Times have well and truly changed.
Revolutions, however, need not be wholesale and many qualities of traditional publishing remain valuable. Peer review is a quality almost universally accepted, although not without its problems. The positive aspects of scholarly review and support can be maintained whilst harnessing the opportunities presented by changes in technology and communication. This is what MedEdPublish, with its open access, immediate publication and post-publication peer review approach, is seeking to do.
Following much positive discussion and critical debate, Professor Harden asked the workshop audience what their take-home messages from the sessions would be. Amongst the sentiments expressed were praise for the openness, inclusivity, democratisation, speed of the publication alongside the possibility of giving people the confidence to put their work out there. There were also concerns about the possible creation of a hierarchy of publication or parallel stream in medical education, and whether such a new approach would be accepted within their institutions.
Being aware of such concerns we are seeking to develop MedEdPublish by blending the old with the new. Peer review will remain an important part, but post publication, open and transparent; and the need for work to be easily searchable and indexed is behind our move from January 2016 to a new website www.mededpublish.org We are opening up our editorial process, inviting guest editors for themed quarterly issues whilst maintaining an open stream for all submissions, and streamlining the submission and review process.
My take-home message from the workshop is that there is recognition that some aspects of publishing are problematic, there is a desire for change, and now we have the means to take this forward. I look forward to hearing more of your views and to working to ensure MedEdPublish realises its potential.