Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research is an open access, online journal that aims to expeditiously publish clinical and basic research studies related to musculoskeletal issues in different cultural communities. It provides a platform for exchanges of new clinical and scientific information in the most precise and expeditious way to achieve dissemination of information and cross-fertilization of ideas. The open access nature of this journal allows articles to be universally and freely accessible via the Internet. This ensures a rapid and efficient communication of research findings. The journal welcomes all types of articles related to musculoskeletal issues. Its timely publication and high visibility are the two most important features that make this journal different from other traditional journals in the orthopaedic field.
The Israel Journal of Health Policy Research (IJHPR) is a new, open access journal. IJHPR seeks to promote intensive intellectual interactions among scholars and practitioners from Israel and other countries regarding all aspects of health policy, with particular attention to Israel. The ultimate aim of these interactions is to contribute to the development of health policy in Israel, and also to foster wider communication between health scientists and policy analysts in Israel and their colleagues around the world. This inaugural editorial provides an overview of the new journal's rationale and its key features.
Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health will encompass all aspects of clinical and epidemiological research in psychiatry and mental health, and will aim to build a bridge between clinical and epidemiological research. There are several outstanding mental heath journals covering all aspects of this dynamic field, but none of these journals is devoted to bridging clinical and epidemiological research. The Open Access online distribution of the journal and its inclusion in the leading data bases (such as PubMed Central) will ensure widespread and ready visibility, which are indispensable given the demand for immediate debate and comparison of scientific findings. This launch Editorial provides an overview of the field, and highlights some of the journal policies.
psychiatry; epidemiology; clinical practice; mental health; publication; scientific journals; online journals; Open Access; psychiatric journals
It is widely acknowledged that there is a global divide on health care and health research known as the 10/90 divide.
A retrospective survey of articles published in the BMJ, Lancet, NEJM, Annals of Internal Medicine & JAMA in a calendar year to examine the contribution of the developing world to medical literature. We categorized countries into four regions: UK, USA, Other Euro-American countries (OEAC) and (RoW). OEAC were European countries other than the UK but including Australia, New Zealand and Canada. RoW comprised all other countries.
The average contribution of the RoW to the research literature in the five journals was 6.5%. In the two British journals 7.6% of the articles were from the RoW; in the three American journals 4.8% of articles were from RoW. The highest proportion of papers from the RoW was in the Lancet (12%). An analysis of the authorship of 151 articles from RoW showed that 104 (68.9%) involved authorship with developed countries in Europe or North America. There were 15 original papers in these journals with data from RoW but without any authors from RoW.
There is a marked under-representation of countries in high-impact general medical journals. The ethical implications of this inequity and ways of reducing it are discussed.
A new online Journal of Autoimmune Diseases is created as an independent open access journal. In addition to the obvious advantages of the open access, the Journal will practice a double-blind reviewing of the manuscripts, which means that both the reviewers and the authors remain anonymous to each other. We believe that such a policy will reduce the influence of personal and other non-scientific factors on the reviewer's decision making.
Journal of Foot and Ankle Research (JFAR) is a new, open access, peer-reviewed online journal that encompasses all aspects of policy, organisation, delivery and clinical practice related to the assessment, diagnosis, prevention and management of foot and ankle disorders. JFAR will cover a wide range of clinical subject areas, including diabetology, paediatrics, sports medicine, gerontology and geriatrics, foot surgery, physical therapy, dermatology, wound management, radiology, biomechanics and bioengineering, orthotics and prosthetics, as well the broad areas of epidemiology, policy, organisation and delivery of services related to foot and ankle care. The journal encourages submission from all health professionals who manage lower limb conditions, including podiatrists, nurses, physical therapists and physiotherapists, orthopaedists, manual therapists, medical specialists and general medical practitioners, as well as health service researchers concerned with foot and ankle care. All manuscripts will undergo open peer review, and all accepted manuscripts will be freely available on-line using the open access platform of BioMed Central.
International Breastfeeding Journal is a new open access peer-reviewed journal with a multidisciplinary focus. The aim of International Breastfeeding Journal is to contribute to understanding all aspects of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is recognized as an important public health issue with enormous social and economic implications. In order to help women breastfeed successfully there is a need to understand both the physiology of lactation and the social and cultural context within which breastfeeding occurs. International Breastfeeding Journal invites manuscripts from around the world, which address all of these aspects, including the impediments to breastfeeding, the health effects of not breastfeeding for infants and their mothers, and the management of breastfeeding problems.
Indigenous Australians have significantly poorer status on a large range of health, educational and socioeconomic measures and successive Australian governments at state and federal level have committed to redressing these disparities. Despite this, improvements in Aboriginal health status have been modest, and Australia has much greater disparities in the health of its Indigenous people compared to countries that share a history characterised by colonisation and the dispossession of indigenous populations such as New Zealand, Canada and the United States of America. Efforts at policy and planning must ultimately be translated into practical strategies. This article outlines an approach that was effective in Western Australia in increasing the engagement and concern of Aboriginal people about high rates of sexually transmissible infections and sexual health issues. Many aspects of the approach are relevant for other health issues.
The complexity of Indigenous sexual health necessitates inter-agency and cross-governmental collaboration, in addition to Aboriginal leadership, accurate data, and community support. A recent approach covering all these areas is described. This has resulted in Aboriginal sexual health being more actively discussed within Aboriginal health settings than it once was and additional resources for Indigenous sexual health being available, with better communication and partnership across different health service providers and sectors. The valuable lessons in capacity building, collaboration and community engagement are readily transferable to other health issues, and may be useful for other health professionals working in the challenging area of Aboriginal health.
Health service planners and providers grapple with achieving Aboriginal ownership and leadership regarding their particular health issue, despite sincere concern and commitment to addressing Aboriginal health issues. This highlights the need to secure genuine Aboriginal engagement. Building capacity that enables Indigenous people and communities to fulfill their own goals is a long-term strategy and requires sustained commitment, but we argue is a prerequisite for better Indigenous health outcomes.
The Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration was created to provide, for the first time, a unified forum to consider all factors that affect scientific practice and scientific discovery – with an emphasis on the changing face of contemporary biomedical science. In this endeavor we are bringing together three different groups of scholars: a) laboratory investigators, who make the discoveries that are the currency of the scientific enterprise; b) computer science and informatics investigators, who devise tools for data analysis, mining, visualization and integration; and c) social scientists, including sociologists, historians, and philosophers, who study scientific practice, collaboration, and information needs. We will publish original research articles, case studies, focus pieces, reviews, and software articles. All articles in the Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration will be peer reviewed, published immediately upon acceptance, freely available online via open access, and archived in PubMed Central and other international full-text repositories.
The provincial formulary review processes in Canada lead to the slow and inequitable availability of new products. In 2004, the exploration of a national pharmaceuticals strategy (NPS) was announced. The pricing policies of New Zealand and Australia have been suggested as possible models for the NPS.
To compare health care indexes and health care use information from Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The 2006 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development health data were used to compare health and health care indexes from Canada, Australia and New Zealand between 1994 and 2002 to 2004. The principal focus of the evaluation was cardiovascular and respiratory disorders.
Although the mortality rate from acute myocardial infarction decreased in each country from 1994, it levelled off in New Zealand in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Between 1994 and 2003, the average length of hospital stay for any cause and for cardiovascular disorders was stable in Australia and Canada, but increased in New Zealand, while the rate of hospital discharges for cardiovascular diseases decreased in Canada and Australia, but strongly increased in New Zealand. Over the same period, sales of cardiovascular drugs decreased in New Zealand, while sharply increasing in Canada and Australia.
Although only circumstantial, our results suggest an association between decreasing cardiovascular drug sales and markers of declining cardiovascular health in New Zealand. Careful consideration must be given to the potential consequences of any model for an NPS in Canada, as well as to opportunities provided for discussion and input from health care professionals and patients.
Canadian health care system; Health outcomes; Health policy; Prescription drugs
The Ministers of Health from Chile, Germany, Greece, New Zealand, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom recently established The International Forum on Common Access to Health Care Services, based on a common belief that their citizens should enjoy universal and equitable access to good quality health care. The ministers intend to form a network to share thinking and evidence on healthcare improvements, with the specific aim of sustaining and promoting equitable access to health care. Despite a vast literature on the notion of equity of access, little agreement has been reached in the literature on exactly what this notion ought to mean. This article provides a brief description of the relevance of the access principle of equity, and summarises the research programme that is necessary for turning the principle into a useful, operational policy objective.
Acute respiratory illness (ARI) is the most common cause of acute presentations and hospitalisations of young Indigenous children in Australia and New Zealand (NZ). Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) from household smoking is a significant and preventable contributor to childhood ARI. This paper describes the protocol for a study which aims to test the efficacy of a family-centred tobacco control program about ETS to improve the respiratory health of Indigenous infants in Australia and New Zealand. For the purpose of this paper 'Indigenous' refers to Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples when referring to Australian Indigenous populations. In New Zealand, the term 'Indigenous' refers to Māori.
This study will be a parallel, randomized, controlled trial. Participants will be Indigenous women and their infants, half of whom will be randomly allocated to an 'intervention' group, who will receive the tobacco control program over three home visits in the first three months of the infant's life and half to a control group receiving 'usual care' (i.e. they will not receive the tobacco control program). Indigenous health workers will deliver the intervention, the goal of which is to reduce or eliminate infant exposure to ETS. Data collection will occur at baseline (shortly after birth) and when the infant is four months and one year of age. The primary outcome is a doctor-diagnosed, documented case of respiratory illness in participating infants.
Interventions aimed at reducing exposure of Indigenous children to ETS have the potential for significant benefits for Indigenous communities. There is currently a dearth of evidence for the effect of tobacco control interventions to reduce children's exposure to ETS among Indigenous populations. This study will provide high-quality evidence of the efficacy of a family-centred tobacco control program on ETS to reduce respiratory illness. Outcomes of our study will be important and significant for Indigenous tobacco control in Australia and New Zealand and prevention of respiratory illness in children.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12609000937213)
A number of medical journals have developed policies for accelerated publication of articles judged by the authors, the editors or the peer reviewers to be of special importance. However, the validity of these judgements is unknown. We therefore compared the importance of articles published on a “fast track” with those published in the usual way.
We identified 12 “case” articles — 6 articles from the New England Journal of Medicine that were prereleased on the journal's Web site before publication in print and 6 “fast-tracked” articles from The Lancet. We then identified 12 “control” articles matched to the case articles according to journal, disease or procedure of focus, theme area and year of publication. Forty-two general internists rated the articles, using 10-point scales, on dimensions addressing the articles' importance, ease of applicability and impact on health outcomes.
For each dimension, the mean score for the case articles was significantly higher than the mean score for the control articles: importance to clinical practice 7.6 v. 7.1 respectively (p = 0.001), importance from a public health perspective 6.5 v. 6.0 (p < 0.001), contribution to advancement of medical knowledge 6.2 v. 5.8 (p < 0.001), ease of applicability in practice 7.0 v. 6.5 (p < 0.001), potential impact on health outcomes 6.5 v. 5.9 (p < 0.001). Despite these general findings, in 5 of the 12 matched pairs of articles the control article had a higher mean score than the case article across all the dimensions.
The accelerated publication practices of 2 leading medical journals targeted articles that, on average, had slightly higher importance scores than similar articles published in the usual way. However, our finding of higher importance scores for control articles in 5 of the 12 matched pairs shows that current journal practices for selecting articles for expedited publication are inconsistent.
In the elderly, many alterations of both innate and clonotypic immunity have been described. Alterations to the immune system in the elderly are generally viewed as a deterioration of immunity, leading to the use of the term immunosenescence. However, although many immunological parameters are often notably reduced in the elderly, retained function of both innate and clonotypic immunity in the elderly is tightly correlated to health status. Recognising the important role of the immune system in ageing, over the last few years, journals oriented towards gerontology and geriatric sciences have increasingly published articles dealing with the immunology of ageing, but a specialised journal in this area does not exist. Immunity & Ageing is a new Open Access, peer reviewed journal that aims to cover all the topics dealing with innate and clonotypic immunity which are relevant to ageing. The journal will provide an opportunity to focus on this topic, which is emerging as one of the critical mechanisms of ageing. Furthermore, as an online, Open Access journal, Immunity & Ageing will promote immediate accessibility to research, which is generally not possible for articles published in printed journals. We hope this forum, concentrating on the themes of ageing and immunology with a strong focus on human studies, will create a new perspective for viewing a world that is inevitably becoming older.
ageing; immunosenescence; inflammation; open access
In order to profile the health services research community in Australia and New Zealand and describe its capacity, a web-based survey was administered to members of the Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand (HSRAANZ) and delegates of the HSRAANZ's Third Health Services Research and Policy Conference.
Responses were received from 191 individuals (68%). The responses of the 165 (86%) who conducted or managed health services research indicated that the health services research community in Australia and New Zealand is characterised by highly qualified professionals who have come to health services research via a range of academic and professional routes (including clinical backgrounds), the majority of whom are women aged between 35 and 54 who have mid- to senior- level appointments. They are primarily employed in universities and, to a lesser extent, government departments and health services. Although most are employed in full time positions, many are only able to devote part of their time to health services research, often juggling this with other professional roles. They rely heavily on external funding, as only half have core funding from their employing institution and around one third have employment contracts of one year or less. Many view issues around building the capacity of the health services research community and addressing funding deficits as crucial if health services research is to be translated into policy and practice. Despite the difficulties they face, most are positive about the support and advice available from peers in their work settings, and many are actively contributing to knowledge through academic and other written outputs.
If health services research is to achieve its potential in Australia and New Zealand, policy-makers and funders must take the concerns of the health services research community seriously, foster its development, and contribute to maximising its capacity through a sustainable approach to funding. There is a clear need for a strategic approach, where the health services research community collaborates with competitive granting bodies and government departments to define and fund a research agenda that balances priority-driven and investigator-driven research and which provides support for training and career development.
Health services research; capacity; resources; funding; outputs; Australia; New Zealand
The rapid rise in rates of overweight and obesity among adults and children in Australia and New Zealand has intensified debate about the most effective policies for obesity prevention. Law has much to contribute to this policy discussion, although its role is often misunderstood. The articles in this symposium follow on from a conference hosted in September 2006 by the Centre for Health Governance, Law & Ethics in the Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, titled: Obesity: should there be a law against it? In different ways, these articles provide a variety of perspectives on regulatory responses to obesity, including theoretical justifications for a legal approach, conceptual models that assist in making sense of law's role, as well as specific legal strategies for obesity prevention in various settings.
The Israel Journal of Health Policy Research (IJHPR) seeks to promote intensive intellectual interactions among scholars and practitioners from Israel and other countries regarding all aspects of health policy and health care, with a special focus on Israel. During 2012, its first year of operation, the journal succeeded in publishing an impressive volume of policy-relevant articles by a remarkably diverse set of authors. The journal's success to date would not have been possible without the vital contributions of the editorial board, the authors, the reviewers, the readers, BioMed Central (the journal's publisher), and the Israel National Institute for Health Policy (the journal's sponsor). The challenges ahead include promoting greater reader involvement, and enhancing the journal's policy and educational impact.
The health sector in Australia faces major challenges that include an ageing population, spiralling health care costs, continuing poor Aboriginal health, and emerging threats to public health. At the same time, the environment for policy-making is becoming increasingly complex. In this context, strong policy capacity – broadly understood as the capacity of government to make "intelligent choices" between policy options – is essential if governments and societies are to address the continuing and emerging problems effectively.
This paper explores the question: "What are the factors that contribute to policy capacity in the health sector?" In the absence of health sector-specific research on this topic, a review of Australian and international public sector policy capacity research was undertaken. Studies from the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia were analysed to identify common themes in the research findings. This paper discusses these policy capacity studies in relation to context, models and methods for policy capacity research, elements of policy capacity and recommendations for building capacity.
Based on this analysis, the paper discusses the organisational and individual factors that are likely to contribute to health policy capacity, highlights the need for further research in the health sector and points to some of the conceptual and methodological issues that need to be taken into consideration in such research.
There is considerable interest in university student hazardous drinking among the media and policy makers. However there have been no population-based studies in Australia to date. We sought to estimate the prevalence and correlates of hazardous drinking and secondhand effects among undergraduates at a Western Australian university.
We invited 13,000 randomly selected undergraduate students from a commuter university in Australia to participate in an online survey of university drinking. Responses were received from 7,237 students (56%), who served as participants in this study.
Ninety percent had consumed alcohol in the last 12 months and 34% met criteria for hazardous drinking (AUDIT score ≥ 8 and greater than 6 standard drinks in one sitting in the previous month). Men and Australian/New Zealand residents had significantly increased odds (OR: 2.1; 95% CI: 1.9-2.3; OR: 5.2; 95% CI: 4.4-6.2) of being categorised as dependent (AUDIT score 20 or over) than women and non-residents. In the previous 4 weeks, 13% of students had been insulted or humiliated and 6% had been pushed, hit or otherwise assaulted by others who were drinking. One percent of respondents had experienced sexual assault in this time period.
Half of men and over a third of women were drinking at hazardous levels and a relatively large proportion of students were negatively affected by their own and other students' drinking. There is a need for intervention to reduce hazardous drinking early in university participation.
Since the tightening of Australian policy for protection visa applicants began in the 1990s, access to health care has been increasingly restricted to asylum seekers on a range of different visa types. This paper summarises those legislative changes and discusses their implications for health policy relating to refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. Of particular concern are asylum seekers on Bridging Visas with no work rights and no access to Medicare. The paper examines several key questions: What is the current state of play, in terms of health screening and medical care policies, for asylum seekers and refugees? Relatedly, how has current policy changed from that of the past? How does Australia compare with other countries in relation to health policy for asylum seekers and refugees? These questions are addressed with the aim of providing a clear description of the current situation concerning Australian health policy on access to medical care for asylum seekers and refugees. Issues concerning lack of access to appropriate health care and related services are raised, ethical and practical issues are explored, and current policy gaps are investigated.
This editorial announces Algorithms for Molecular Biology, a new online open access journal published by BioMed Central. By launching the first open access journal on algorithmic bioinformatics, we provide a forum for fast publication of high-quality research articles in this rapidly evolving field. Our journal will publish thoroughly peer-reviewed papers without length limitations covering all aspects of algorithmic data analysis in computatioal biology. Publications in Algorithms for Molecular Biology are easy to find, highly visible and tracked by organisations such as PubMed. An established online submission system makes a fast reviewing procedure possible and enables us to publish accepted papers without delay. All articles published in our journal are permanently archived by PubMed Central and other scientific archives. We are looking forward to receiving your contributions.
Afghan and Iraqi refugees comprise nearly half of all those currently under United Nations protection. As many of them will eventually be resettled in countries outside the region of origin, their long term health and settlement concerns are of relevance to host societies, and will be a likely focus for future research. Since Australia and New Zealand have both accepted refugees for many years and have dedicated, but different settlement and immigration policies, a study comparing the resettlement of two different refugee groups in these countries was undertaken. The purpose of this article is to describe the instrument selection for this study assessing mental health and psychological well being with Afghan and Kurdish former refugees, in particular to address linguistic considerations and translated instrument availability. A summary of instruments previously used with refugee and migrant groups from the Middle East region is presented to assist other researchers, before describing the three instruments ultimately selected for the quantitative component of our study.
The Kessler-10 Psychological Distress Scale (K10), General Perceived Self-Efficacy Scale (GPSE), and Personal Well-Being Index (PWI) all showed good reliability (Cronbach's alphas of 0.86, 0.89 and 0.83 respectively for combined language versions) and ease of use even for pre-literate participants, with the sample of 193 refugees, although some concepts in the GPSE proved problematic for a small number of respondents. Farsi was the language of choice for the majority of Afghan participants, while most of the Kurds chose to complete English versions in addition to Farsi. No one used Arabic or Turkish translations. Participants settled less than ten years were more likely to complete questionnaires in Farsi. Descriptive summary statistics are presented for each instrument with results split by gender, refugee group and language version completed.
This paper discusses instrument selection for Farsi and Arabic speaking refugee participants from the Middle East and Afghanistan, concluding that the Kessler-10, GPSE scale and PWI were suitable for use with these groups. Suitable language translations are freely available. Our experience with these instruments may help inform other studies with these vulnerable groups.
This paper provides an historical review of physical activity policy development in Australia for a period spanning a decade since the release of the US Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health in 1996 and including the 2004 WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. Using our definition of 'HARDWIRED' policy criteria, this Australian review is compared with an international perspective of countries with established national physical activity policies and strategies (New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Scotland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Finland). Methods comprised a literature and policy review, audit of relevant web sites, document searches and surveys of international stakeholders.
All these selected countries embraced multi-strategic policies and undertook monitoring of physical activity through national surveys. Few committed to policy of more than three years duration and none undertook systematic evaluation of national policy implementation. This Australian review highlights phases of innovation and leadership in physical activity-related policy, as well as periods of stagnation and decline; early efforts were amongst the best in the world but by the mid-point of this review (the year 2000), promising attempts towards development of a national intersectoral policy framework were thwarted by reforms in the Federal Sport and Recreation sector. Several well received reviews of evidence on good practices in physical activity and public health were produced in the period but leadership and resources were lacking to implement the policies and programs indicated. Latterly, widespread publicity and greatly increased public and political interest in chronic disease prevention, (especially in obesity and type 2 diabetes) have dominated the framework within which Australian policy deliberations have occurred. Finally, a national physical activity policy framework for the Health sector emerged, but not as a policy vision that was inclusive of the other essential sectors such as Education, Transport, Urban Planning as well as Sport and Recreation.
Despite some progression of physical activity policy in the decade since 1995/6, this review found inconsistent policy development, both in Australia and elsewhere. Arguably, Australia has done no worse than other countries, but more effective responses to physical inactivity in populations can be built only on sustainable multi-sectoral public health policy partnerships that are well informed by evidence of effectiveness and good practice. In Australia and elsewhere prerequisites for success are political support, long-term investment and commitment to program implementation and evaluation. An urgent priority is media and political advocacy for physical activity focussed on these factors.
Medical practice today requires evaluating large amounts of information which should be available at all times. This information is found most easily in a digital form. Some information has already been evaluated for validity (evidence based medicine sources) and some is in unevaluated form (paper and online journals). In order to improve access to digital information, the School of Clinical Medicine and Research at the University of the West Indies and Queen Elizabeth Hospital decided to enhance the library by offering online full text medical articles and evidence based medicine sources. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the relative value of online journal commercial products available for a small hospital and medical school library.
Three reference standards were chosen to represent the ideal list of core periodicals for a broad range of medical care: 2 Brandon/Hill selected lists of journals for the small medical library (BH and BH core) and the academic medical library core journal collection chosen for the Florida State University College of Medicine Medical Library. Six commercially available collections were compared to the reference standards and to the current paper journal subscription list as regards to number of journals matched and cost per journal matched. Ease of use and presence of secondary sources were also considered.
The cost per journal matched ranged from US $ 3194 to $ 81. Because of their low subscription prices, the Biomedical Reference Collection and Proquest products were the most cost beneficial. However, they provided low coverage of the ideal lists (12 – 17% and 21–32% respectively) and contained significant embargoes on current editions, were not user friendly and contained no secondary sources. The Ovid Brandon/Hill Plus Collection overcame these difficulties but had a much higher cost-benefit range while providing higher coverage of the ideal lists (14–47%).
After considering costs, benefits, ease of use, embargoes, presence of secondary sources (ACP Journal Club, DARE), the Ovid Brandon/Hill Plus Collection was the best choice for our hospital considering our budget. However, the option to individually select our own journal list from Ovid and pay per journal has a certain appeal as well.
As a small—although growing—journal based in Malaysia, the Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences (MJMS) has faced several challenges in the past, such as promoting our journal as well as making sure our article bank does not go empty. However, we strive to improve ourselves by taking all means necessary to increase the quantity and, most importantly, quality of our publications, as well as to increase our journal’s visibility and citability. This editorial will focus on MJMS statistics throughout 2011—where MJMS turned 18—as well as future plans for our journal.
manuscripts; publishing; reports; special events; statistics