The Birth of an Online Pharmacotherapy Journal

Welcome to the premiere issue of the Journal of Informed Pharmacotherapy, or “the JIP” as we have come to call it.  This first issue is the culmination of many months of planning and production on the part of the Editors and we believe it represents a significant advancement in the way scholarly information in the field of pharmacotherapy is disseminated.

The JIP was born in January 1999 as an initiative of the British Columbia Branch of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP).  As it developed, both CSHP and the Founding Editors came to realize that the JIP would likely function more effectively as a completely autonomous publication. Despite this, we are indebted to CSHP for its initial support for this project and continue to rely on Canadian pharmacotherapy experts for their editorial assistance and for submissions the Journal.  The JIP receives no funding from the pharmaceutical industry and its operations are supported by an unrestricted educational grant-in-aid from Research Services at Vancouver Hospital & Health Sciences Centre.

Not Just Another Journal

We are well aware of the ongoing proliferation of academic journals in medicine and recognize the increasing difficulty in keeping pace with advances which are relevant to our practices.  Despite an increasing number of outlets for authors to disseminate information, we believe that a relatively small proportion of the scholarly work done by many pharmacotherapy researchers and practitioners is ever distributed in a widely disseminated form.  Several factors may account for this, not the least of which is the onerous and typically slow traditional peer-review and publication process employed by print-based journals.

The content of the Journal is peer-reviewed by a well recognized panel of Section Editors with expertise in a variety of pharmacotherapeutic specialties.  Each section of the JIP is designed to address the challenges faced by busy clinicians and researchers. Specifically, the sections are designed to address the need for widespread and rapid dissemination of peer-reviewed research, for identification and interpretation of important pharmacotherapeutic research using evidence-based principles, for articles on current therapeutic issues written by experts in the field, and for objective reviews of web-based resources designed to enhance clinical practice.

The JIP is not just the online equivalent of a traditional print journal.  The online medium and fully electronic processes behind the scenes allows the editorial team of JIP to accomplish several things which traditional paper-based journals cannot, including:

  • Submissions to the Journal for most sections can be accomplished completely online.  This eliminates the hassles of paper-based submissions.
  • All submissions and subsequent Journal-related communication will be completed using electronic media only to facilitate efficient processing, review and editing.
  • Our goal is to achieve a submission to publication interval for accepted manuscripts of two months or less for peer-reviewed original publications and a shorter interval for all other submissions.  Compare that to the 6-12 month turnaround time commonly associated with traditional paper-based journals.
  • The Journal exists exclusively online, so the costs and distribution delays associated with traditional paper-based journals are avoided.
  • Once an article is published, it is instantly available to a worldwide audience.
  • Once a paper is published to the website, feedback and critique from other practitioners can occur immediately, and the process of constructive dissection of results can occur in a matter of minutes and hours, rather than months or years as is typical of old-style journals.
  • Our low cost of Journal production permits us to maintain this publication without the need for (and potential conflict of interest related to) advertising.  This allows us to remain free of private industry support or influence.
  • The Journal will be distributed at no cost to the submitting authors or to the readership.

The JIP represents a paradigm shift in scholarly publishing in the field of pharmacotherapy.  Much of the rationale for similar journals that now exist in other fields has been eloquently described by the International Consortium for Alternative Academic Publishing and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. These groups are at the forefront of overcoming the constraints placed upon researchers, clinicians and university libraries by the soaring costs of for-profit academic journals.  These costs have resulted in significant reductions in the number of journals that medical libraries can subscribe to.

Even without this threatening milieu, clinicians require faster access to reliable, up-to-date  information that can affect their practice.  This is precisely what the JIP seeks to provide.

Of course, ultimately the value of the JIP will be determined by its authors and its readers.  We welcome submissions from pharmacotherapy practitioners and researchers on any topic.  As with any peer-reviewed journal, your article, if accepted for publication, becomes a permanent part of the medical literature, is locatable with all the major internet search engines, and is fully citable in the Vancouver Group format or using standard web citation format.  We also encourage you to respond to the articles you read with criticism, clarification and questions which may help other practitioners.  Finally, the Editors welcome your feedback about your needs and suggestions for improvements to the JIP.

We hope that you find the Journal of Informed Pharmacotherapy to be a useful resource and encourage you to check back often for new articles.  We urge you to learn more about the JIP by viewing our Frequently Asked Questions page, our information for Authors, our Sponsors page, and our list of Editors.

Peter J. Jewesson, BSc(Pharm), PhD, FCSHP
Peter S. Loewen, BSc(Pharm), PharmD
Carlo A. Marra, BSc(Pharm), PharmD
Peter J. Zed, BSc, BSc(Pharm), PharmD

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