JAMA unveils network linking 10 AMA journals

The JAMA Network has an enhanced search engine geared for a mobile audience.

By — Posted May 14, 2012

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The Journal of the American Medical Association and its specialty Archives journals on May 14 launched a new Web platform that makes it easier and faster for readers to navigate content from all 10 publications at once.

Instead of each existing within its own virtual silo, The JAMA Network integrates the journals online. It features a new search engine that allows readers to hunt for related content across all the publications, rather than having to search each journal’s website individually.

The launch of the network is the latest of several changes that ultimately will include a complete redesign of the journals and renaming of the nine specialty journals. Starting in January 2013, the Archives journals will have the JAMA name integrated into their titles. For example, Archives of Ophthalmology will become JAMA Ophthalmology, and Archives of Surgery will become JAMA Surgery. The goal is to ensure that readers know the journals are part of the JAMA family, said Elizabeth A. Jones, publisher, AMA periodical publications.

“There are readers now who don’t know they’re associated with JAMA,” she said. “If they didn’t know before, they will absolutely know it in the future.”

The changes are designed to make the journals more user friendly and accessible to a generation of readers who increasingly access content on the go on smartphones or tablet computers, said Howard Bauchner, MD, JAMA’s editor-in-chief.

“We want to give the user, whether they are an author, clinician, medical student or resident, the feeling that it’s really a family of journals,” he said. “The network is 10 integrated journals. That’s very, very different than virtually any other family of journals.”

The search engine, which is accessible on each of the journal’s websites and on the main website for The JAMA Network, will give readers more accurate search results. It uses semantic technology that recognizes concepts rather than just words. For example, a search for type 2 diabetes would display articles that use the term T2 diabetes, which the old system would not, Dr. Bauchner said. The launch of the new Web platform coincides with the release of JAMA’s global health theme issue.

Within a few weeks, The JAMA Network will roll out a new mobile app that will automatically detect what type of device a reader is using and optimize the content accordingly, Jones said.

The app comes in response to the growing demand for mobile access for the journals, which has increased 3,000% during the past year, she said. The JAMA Network app will be available free to all users for six months, after which it will be accessible only to subscribers, to AMA members or on a pay-per-article basis.

Reaching out to readers

In January, JAMA condensed its table of contents onto one page, eliminated its commentaries and introduced “Viewpoints” in their place, moving them from the back of the journal to the front.

Four of the journals — Archives of General Psychiatry, Archives of Internal Medicine, Archives of Neurology and Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine — will begin posting 90% of their articles online ahead of print before the end of 2012. That means articles will publish within 90 days of acceptance but still will undergo the same rigorous review process, Jones said.

In addition to appealing to readers, the changes are expected to attract authors who seek publications that will give them the greatest impact in the quickest amount of time. Allowing readers access across all of the journals through the network also ensures maximal exposure, she said.

“Each of the journals had their own individual audiences and their own individual print circulation,” Jones said. “The network looks at the content as one rather than 10 individual journals.”

The next major change will occur in January 2013, when all of the journals will be redesigned with a more contemporary look, enhanced graphic content and consistent design features, Dr. Bauchner said. It will be JAMA’s first redesign in 15 years and the first redesign of the other journals in 25 years.

“We’ve been technologically challenged the last couple of years. This allows us to leapfrog in terms of reaching out to readers,” he said. “Journals traditionally have been either print-centric or Web-centric. We want to be user-centric.”

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