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ExOME

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This is the first public announcement of ExOME - Excellence in Online Medical Education.

I chatted with my boss last night and we've been discussing whether we could make our own journal. However, yesterday (after a trip to London for the BMJ's Broadband Learning symposium), we have decided to go ahead and get it working. Initially, it will be open-access and online only with the option to go paper-based in the future.

I've also been reading lots about problems with peer-reviews and the cost to open access journals. Our solution is to have it community led. When articles are submitted, they will be held in a queue. This queue will last a minimum amount of time (say 2 weeks) and a maximum of 12 weeks. In this time, all members of the community will be able to criticise and review the article. This can be done anonymously (except to editorial staff who might need to moderate in case of ad hominem attacks) and votes made on the quality of the article. If the article reaches a minimal level of approval, the authors have a choice. They can withdraw and resubmit the article with corrections (and go through the review process again), or they can publish the article with or without corrections made from the reviews.

The publishing process is different from most academic journals in that:

1) it is community led;
2) reviewers are self-selecting (not restricted to particular fields);
3) there are no limits to the level of review;
4) unpublished articles will be publically available (though obviously not to be used for references);
5) the process is a lot quicker;
6) the process has a predictable time-scale;
7) the process offers the chance for students to try their hand at peer review;
8) the process is open, academic, and auditable;

I believe that what we are doing is in the correct spirit of modern empirical enquiry. The system works well for sites such as Kuro5hin (though wit hobvious trolls), though our system will be more closely moderated.

There will also be a journal associated, a conference, and of course, our book.

I have bought a bunch of subdomains and will get some webhosting from IDCsoft who offer good deals (which will get better because I'm already a customer with them).

The main problem is awareness - making people aware of the experiment and getting them involved. This requires a massive publicity push which we will have to address quickly.

The site will run under open source software so licensing will be no problem. I can do the setting up and administration as well as the editorial duties (initially). The good thing is that these days, it is quick to do. I aim to have a website that is almost completed next week.

Here's to the future!!!
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