Syed Mahmood Ali Shah ( Medical Student, The Aga Khan University, Karachi. )
In the world where knowledge is disseminated like a highly infectious airborne virus, we need a media where research goes global in seconds. Before the Internet, the fastest one could get a journal was via airmail, which took between 24-96 hours depending on the distances. Now you can read the articles even before the journal goes to the press for printing. c-journals - are the online additions of the hard copy journals available over the net. Not all e-journals are free to surf like British Medical Journal, but most of them do have their abstracts available free of cost. For the people who are die-hard lovers of hardcopy journals, c-journals can still be useful in a way that they can get the published article before the hardcopy is sent to the press. A few journals have dual subscriptions; anyone subscribed to the hard copy edition automatically gets the extra privilege to browse through the complete journal on the Internet. Most importantly, almost all of the c-journals have a mailing list. As soon as the new issue is published online, you will get a notification via e-mail with the index of articles along with their brief introduction and direct links, saving your online time. Some c-journals have features unique to them and are not available on all the web sites. These include direct discussion on the article, asking direct questions to the author and/or the panel of experts on that topic, order more informiation and find related links etc. The number of c-journals is increasingeverv day and notallofthemcanbe reviewedinthis article. Review about c-journals will be published periodically and you can also visit the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association’s other online journals page at http://www.greenmonkeys.net/jpma/other.htm to browse through the list of c-journals.
When you type in http://www/sciam.com in your browser, you enter the exotic world of Scientific American. The main page takes extra time to download due to the heavy graphics, but the design and layout is excellent and very easy to navigate. The cover page of the latest issue is placed on the left border with a set of image mapped links below it including past issues, advertising, subscriptions, shopping, feedback, guest book and search options. In the center, there is another set of links, some of them unique to the electronic edition. Scientific American is not free to download. People who have subscribed to the hard copy edition are automatically subscribed to the online edition. This web site not only has Scientific American’s exciting monthly publication, but you will also fmd Scientific American Presents, a new quarterly publication from the editors of Scientific American. a remarkable in-depth single-topic issue. In addition to the above two magazines, the new and exciting science and technology magazine for families, Scientific American Explorations, can also be surfed. Their booknwk contains useful links that are reviewed by the editors. The interviews link leads you to many famous people like Gordon E. Moore, the Intel co-founder and chairman emeritus; Jaron Lather, the cyberspace Renaissance man; Neal F. Lane, director of the National Science Foundation and many more. Scientific American has avery powerful search engine and you can trace down all the informationyou need. The first issue of Scientific Americanpublished in 1845 is also available ontheirweb site. Overall rating of Scientific American web site is very good.
http://www.nejm.org is the online edition of New England Journal of Medicine, owned and published by the Massachusetts Medical Society. Its index page is very well designed and browsing the site is easy. Features include table of contents via e-mail, infonnation for authors, upcoming seminars and conferences, classified ads, other sources of Medical Information and an images quiz. The most useful link is, Image in Clinical Medicine, a weekly Journal feature, presenting clinically important visual images (CT’s MRI’s, X-rays, ECG’s, US’s patients photographs etc), emphasizing those that doctors might encounter at the office, the emergency department, or the hospital. Every image has a blank field at the end where you can enter your diagnosis and check your answers. The journal can be subscribed and viewed online on payment, which is less than half for the students as compared to working physicians. You canalso order CD-ROM edition of the NEJM. Like Scientific American, they have theirfirst issue online, which was published in January 1812. A powerful search engine is available for digging out important information from the current as well as back issues. Subscribers can directly log on to the full text version from the index page. Non- subscribers can view table of contents and abstracts. The overall rating of this site is very good.