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Why I prefer not to publish in journals but in the Internet
During my scientific career I did much research and published it in numerous research papers in a variety of medical peer-reviewed scientific journals. Unfortunately, this has numerous fundamental drawbacks:
- If you want to publish conceptually really new material, not rarely the peers reviewing the manuscript tends to reject them since they are not really familiar with the topic.
- The selection of peer reviewers by not only a few journals has become more and more questionable. The journals simply seem to invite by email anyone who somehow has published something and extract from electronic database scans email addresses to invite nearly everybody to publish, to review and to give talks on congresses.
- I regularly receive email invitations for peer-review of manuscripts in fields of medicine I am basically unfamiliar with.
- Medical journals become more and more numerous to earn profits from publishing scientific research. Many of these journals have a questionable reputation and scientific standard. They are called predatory journals since the aim at publishing as much as possible in order to make profit but often do not even read the manuscripts which have been submitted. Even if they offer a “discount” on their publishing fees, this may prevent researchers from low income countries to publish:
- Even if the manuscript is finally accepted by a serious medical journal, it takes weeks until it is published.
- The most annoying fact however is that these journals sell the manuscripts to the readers without paying the authors or supporting their research financially. It is thus a pure profit-oriented, outdated system which exploits publicly funded research and hiding it from those who paid it in the first place, the patients and the general public, behind a paywall. This paywall is a serious obstacle for the spread of new information especially for researchers in developing countries but even more for the general public, the patients.
- But the welfare of the patients and the spread of information is the supreme goal of scientific medical research.
- This aim can be achieved much easier and with only minor drawbacks by publishing research and new concepts directly on the web (medical web archive or the researchers’ own website). The papers can usually be found easily with popular search engines at no cost for colleagues and patients.
When I started spreading new concepts for vascular compression syndromes 5 years ago on the Internet primarily and exclusively, I reached tens of thousands of patients, many more then in 3 decades before. This kicks off a direct discussion with interested colleagues and patients around the globe and thus connects researchers and patients with the same aim: to improve the treatment of patients. Moreover, the patients can be involved directly and can influence the research by adding their experiences and there needs in direct communication with the publishing researcher.
The only drawback of this publishing strategy is the lack of the pre-publishing review from peers which are real insiders in the area. This may be overcome (and is partially overcome) in the near future by scoring and comment mechanisms for colleagues and lay persons.
But this drawback is outweighed many times by the many advantages of this approach to scientific publishing.