A taste from afar: reports from ICML and the international experience

Whether you’re from Finland or France, Kenya or Korea, or my colleagues in the antipodes, Aislinn Conway (UK) and I (Fiona Russell, Australia) will be your bloggers for the ICML component of One Health.

The conference is wonderful, with a huge contingent of Librarians from around the world and an enormous vendor display hall. Already, I am overwhelmed by the hospitality of the US librarians, and feel very privledged to be here.

There is a smorgasboard of sessions to choose from. This afternoon’s ICML sessions followed the ‘New Methods of Publishing’ theme.

JOVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), presented by Moshe Prtsker, is a unique style of publication, and enables researchers to share their techniques with other researchers around the world. In the past, unique techniques may have required a trip overseas for scientists to learn from the experts. These days, JOVE will create a slick video presentation of the method, and publish it in its video journal. JOVE also recognises that scientists’ skills lie in a variety of areas, but not necessarily in video production, and they have therefore developed a videographer network around the world for scientists to draw upon.

Dr Brian Alper, editor of Dynamed, has developed his role because he preferred to organise information rather than to memorise it whilst studying for his medical degree. Point of care products such as Dynamed often highlight why evidence based practice is so important in health professions: ‘what it is to practice medicine is always changing.’ He cited several examples where best practice has been reversed as new evidence comes to light – the treatment of peptic ulcers, orginally thought to be caused by stress, are now known to be caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria, so the treatment now consists of antibiotics, not relaxation. Alper has analysed articles for these changes, and has found that across a 1.5 year period in 80 topics, 75% have been changed due to new evidence. We need our medical practitioners to keep up with these changes.

An increasingly common phenomenon in publishing is for researchers to be duped by unreliable publishers. Paul M. Blobaum provided excellent tips for librarians in the establishment of journal legitimacy, and provided some of his own, entertaining examples of journal socititation. Blobaum has been invited to publish in journal in completely different disciplines, was addressed by an incorrect title, and the language of the written invitation had debatable quality. One of thepoints raised by the audience was the difficulty in establishing whether a journal is unscrupulous, or whether it is a legitimate, struggling start-up. This is likely to be looked at.

Laura A. McLellan provided us with an overview of the process of developing a gratis open access journal, the ‘Annals of Family Medicine.’ This was developed to fill a niche, and its funding is sourced from six professional bodies, enabling complete editorial independence. Authors also assign copyright, therefore licence fee revenue is also generated.

And so, I look forward to reporting back on what the next sessions have to offer. Wherever you are in the world – we can learn so much from each other.