The importance of “Threaded Publications” within the Health Libraries Community
BioMed Central advocates free and complete access to scientific research. This is often associated with the publication of full open access journals however, BioMed Central has taken this concept further and is looking at access to all clinical trial-related publications, including scientific data, and their interconnectivity.
‘Threaded publications’ is an initiative that was in January 2011 by BioMed Central to help increase transparency in science communication and enhance the discoverability of evidence-based health information. This concept seeks to address the current problem of disconnected articles relating to a specific clinical trial, and sound research failing to be published, by providing a complete solution.
The “Threaded publications” is not a new idea – it was proposed by Sir Iain Chalmers and Prof Doug Altman in an article in The Lancet 1999: “Electronic publication of a protocol could be simply the first element in a sequence of 'threaded' electronic publications, which continues with reports of the resulting research (published in sufficient detail to meet some of the criticisms of less detailed reports published in print journals), followed by deposition of the complete data set.”
Marketing, financial incentives, and improved online links between clinical trial registration databases and journal articles are already in place and we are now working with CrossRef on further technical developments, and aims to make threaded publications interoperable between multiple journals and publishers.
What a reader or ‘user’ might gain from threaded publications depends on their role. Systematic reviewers need to be able to access all available evidence, and to view all articles and data that are available on a specific trial. Research funders also need to have access to this data to find out if funding for the research, such as a trial, is justifiable. Practitioners and health care professionals need to find as much information as possible on a treatment to make sure to offer the best possible patient care. To be able to offer these user groups the information they need is the principal task of the health libraries, and to improve information literacy among their users. The “Threaded Publications” initiative will make it easier for the librarians to find and provide related information and data to their users and enhance discoverability of evidence-based health information.
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