Emergency Medicine and PMC- Not quite there yet

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Having looked a general medicine journals recently and being less than impressed with some of the most famous journals and their benign stance (absolute authors’ responsibility for PMC archiving) about serving tax payer access interest,  I thought to take a similar look at another specialty.

Emergency medicine occupies an important role in every hospital and larger immediate-care clinic setting. Research that assists with the  immediate preliminary diagnosis , stabilization of patients, and predictive models for efficient staffing models  is growing in quantity.  Are the scholars for this specialty getting their research in PMC?

scimago- Emergency Medicine Ranked Journals 2009

Here’s my chart of the top 10 SCImago ranked Emergency Medicine journals for the year 2009, provided the journal has published a minimum of 300 citable articles in the last three years:


EMERGENCY MEDICINE Sampler: PMC Deposits as a Percentage of 2009 Article Publishing in Select Journals (Journals with at least 300 citable documents over the past three years)

JOURNAL 2009 Articles (SCImago) 2009 PMC Articles PMC Percentage (%)
Annals of Emergency Medicine 408 9 2%
Resuscitation 375 17 5%
Academic Emergency Medicine 255 7 3%
Journal of Burn Care and Research 192 9 5%
Burns : journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries 228 3 1%
Injury 396 1 ~~%
American Journal of Emergency Medicine 375 6 1%
Pediatric Emergency Care 222 0 ~~%
Journal of Emergency Medicine 386 1 ~~%
Emergency Medicine Journal 414 1 ~~%

~~% = less than 1%

There are several factors to bear in mind for such a minimal representation.

  • Researchers in this medical specialty may not be receiving much in the way of NIH research funding, eliminating the issue of compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.
  • Researchers that balance clinical practice careers in this discipline may have difficulty finding time to address PMC deposit compliance,particularly if their journal does not encourage compliance.
  • There is apparently no open access journal in Emergency Medicine that has established themselves as a top-10 journal ranking. Indeed, the Directory of Open Access Journals does not have a category representation for Emergency Medicine. There are 16 open access journals established in Emergency Medicine listed in DOAJ, some of which are represented in PubMed.

The Culture of Open Access is not a NNT calculation.   The data above reveals low representation in PMC for a select group of highly ranked jouranls.  Unlike the discipline of Infectious Disease which has at least two open access journals that are highly ranked, the major peer-reviewed journals for Emergency Medicine in the chart above, for the most part, continue in traditional toll-based publishing models, where authors seek to enhance their academic reputation by providing free content to publishers that then control it and sell access back to libraries where the research took place.  And unlike the perception that infectious public health problems require more urgent and long-term open sharing of research results to discover cures and administer care for millions at risk, the academic work of Emergency Medicine is a product of  traditional hospital culture and short-term outcomes like stabilizing a patient.