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Inj Prev. 2007 August; 13(4): 217.
PMCID: PMC2598337

There's more to Injury Prevention than original papers

In 1995, younger and more idealistic, I wrote an editorial in Injury Prevention asking where papers could be found describing intervention programs in such a way that they could be replicated.1 Now, many years later, I have an answer to this question—but it's a negative answer: not in Injury Prevention. Perhaps space considerations make it impractical for an academic journal to describe programs in detail. But for people working to prevent injuries—as opposed to researchers—there has to be somewhere for them to turn to for this information. Perhaps the best we can expect is that Injury Prevention points people towards more complete reports elsewhere. The downside of this remains, however, that it shifts the burden to overworked, non‐academic practitioners who do not enthuse about reading journals, let alone having to look elsewhere for what they need to know.

For me, it is not always original articles that have been most influential. Thoughtful editorials and features can highlight issues in ways that research papers cannot. For example, the report by Towner and Towner and the associated editorial by Chalmers and Pless on UNICEF's child injury league tables address international comparisons.2,3 Although such comparisons can be criticized on the grounds that they are not always comparing like with like, they may serve as a powerful advocacy tool. No politician likes his or her country to be at the bottom of an international league table. Editorials can also reveal subtleties that we can easily miss, such as the fact (which politicians seem incapable of grasping) that over time injuries have actually increased in importance because other causes of death have fallen so rapidly. We must keep banging this drum.

References

1. Hayes M. Where have all the programmes gone? Inj Prev 1995. 1213–214.214 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Towner E, Towner J. UNICEF's child injury league table. An analysis of legislation: more mixed messages. Inj Prev 2002. 897–100.100 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
3. Chalmers D, Pless B. UNICEF's child injury league tables: a bag of mixed messages. Inj Prev 2001. 781–82.82 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Injury Prevention are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group