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Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)
Thoreau may have made his observation about books, but we think the idea behind it can safely be extended to all media through which knowledge is expressed, print and otherwise. Neuro-Oncology has for the last couple of years been engaged in a lot of thought and discussion—among its editors and among the editors, readers, and publisher—about the best ways to ensure the neuro-oncology community has access to the best and most current information in the field. Some of the strategies we believe will accomplish this goal have been in place for some time (for instance, advance online access to upcoming articles for subscribers and barrier-free online access to articles over 1 year old through our contract with HighWire Press), but some are newly instituted and others are yet to come.
One of our most exciting current achievements is represented by the issue you hold in your hand. This is the first of six issues you will receive in 2008, meaning that you will now receive Neuro-Oncology on a bimonthly basis rather than quarterly. Our hope is that this accelerated publication schedule will allow us to publish the best articles in the field in a more timely fashion, ultimately aiding you, the reader.
To that same end, we are examining ways in which we might accelerate article publication by taking advantage of new media, specifically online access to content. We are aware that some journals publish articles online very rapidly these days and that readers (and authors) are increasingly intrigued by the possibilities afforded by newer technologies. We are examining our options in this regard, all the while remaining mindful that only good, reliable information, expressed as clearly as it can be, should be offered to the worldwide community engaged in such an important goal as combating CNS tumors. Our guiding principle is to expedite publishing without compromising quality.
We are also mindful that accelerated publishing and online access have a down side. For better or worse, print publications are still largely regarded as more authoritative than online journals and preprint content. And for many of us, print publications, especially those housed in our institutional libraries, still constitute a valuable and necessary resource that advises our work, whether we are engaged in research or patient care.
With that in mind, we have already asked many of you to talk to your institution’s librarians so that Neuro-Oncology will continue to be carried (or even added to) your local facility’s shelves. Sometimes a simple personal appeal from someone at the institution is all it takes to keep an institutional subscription active. Remember that while most of you have your own subscriptions through your membership in the Society for Neuro-Oncology, there are others who have not yet discovered the society or the journal. So we ask you to help us make Neuro-Oncology, in all its forms, a carrier of knowledge to as many of your peers as we can reach and thereby advance science and thought rather than silence them.