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The editorial about the impact of the information technology on the evolution of medical practice (September 2005 JRSM1) is thought provoking. The editor seemed to end his note on somber tones regarding the future of printed medical journals.
As one who wrote about the future of electronic journals in 1996,2 I am convinced that paper journals are here to stay despite open access publishing and other torments. This assertion is not based on data, but is more linked to the romance the human species has had with the rustling of paper since the middle ages. The thrill one gets while handling the crisp paper and turning a page over is largely unstudied. On a practical level, computer screens still have several limitations including portability. The present generation of professionals has not been trained in the ‘all-by-computer-from-the-very-beginning’ mode. The degree of access throughout wide sections of the world population will determine the growth of electronic medical publishing in the future.
Personally, I still prefer my paper copy of the Journal of The Royal Society of Medicine that comes in the unmistakable package than the online subscription!