Use of the Internet by print medical journals in 2003 to 2009: a longitudinal observational study.
Schriger DL., Chehrazi AC., Merchant RM., Altman DG.
STUDY OBJECTIVE: To determine how a sample of medical journals use the Internet to provide additional content and features to readers and how this has changed since 2003. METHODS: In 2005, we surveyed 2003 and 2005 issues of 138 high-impact print medical journals to determine to what extent they were using the Internet to provide online-only articles and supplementary content to print articles (sampled 28 journals), and electronic space for the postpublication critique of their articles (sampled all 138 journals). We used the same methodology to determine what kinds of Web-only supplementary material were provided with each print article in March 2007 and 2009 issues of the same 28 journals used for the 2003 to 2005 study. As before, we also determined which of the 138 journals offered rapid response pages and how those pages were being used. RESULTS: The proportion of the 28 journals providing Web-only supplementary material increased from 32% (2003) to 50% (2005) to 61% (2007) to 64% (2009), and the percentage of articles that contained supplementary material increased from 7% to 14% to 20% to 25%, respectively. We observed a marked increase in the number of video supplements. In contrast, journals offering online postpublication review decreased from 17 of 138 (12%) to 12 of 138 (9%) to 11 of 138 (8%) from 2005 to 2007 to 2009, and the percentage of articles with no responses was unchanged at 82%. CONCLUSION: The use of online-only articles and online-only supplements by print journals continues to increase. Postpublication critique of articles in online pages provided by the journal does not seem to be taking hold.