On inquiring ideas of epidemic proportions...

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006


[Epidemiologic Inquiry 2006, 1: 2]

A few responses to FAQ:

-- Is the Journal professional and genuine to its described purpose? Are we "just a blog"?
On our honor, we assure the audience that the efforts of the editors are whole-heartedly genuine and sincere to the mission of the Journal. We are not "just a blog", as we uphold the professionalism expected in science. In any case, even blogs are now a new category eligible for the famed Pulitzer Prize.

-- Why is there a need for another epidemiology publication?
As stated in the Journal's mission...
In a world with ever increasing pace of scientific investigations, important research findings are often disseminated too slowly through the general scientific community-- slowly as in weeks or months, instead of hours and days. Furthermore, methodologic controversies are usually discussed via word of mouth soon after the publication, and written responses to journals often appear months after publication -- too slow to engage readers, too long of a lag to maintain relevance, and too long a period of time for potentially flawed study results to propagate uninhibited. Finally, outstanding investigations are too often under- or unrecognized in epidemiology and medicine...

Additionally, the Journal supports rapid dissemination and discussion of the latest significant findings in epidemiology in an open-access format, which, unlike Journal Watch, is by paid subscription only, does not necessarily focus on epidemiology, and does not allow a forum for discussion. Moreover, the BMC journals EP&I and ETE do not allow for a rapid forum for discussion of the latest breaking study results, nor are other journals free in the first 6 months in which open discussions of latest results are most critical.

-- Are articles in the Journal peer-reviewed?
For purposes of rapid dissemination and opening a rapid forum for scientific discussion, alerts for top articles, articles of the week/month, and brief commentaries are reviewed by our editorial board. For longer reviews and external editorials, we seek at least another external review in addition to our editorial board. For the top Epidemiologic Inquiry Awards, all candidate articles are requested from editors of leading epidemiology and clinical journals, as well as experts in epidemiology relevant to the field. Finally, because the Journal is a rapid-response publication for a body of epidemiologists about the latest studies in epidemiology, we feel a purpose of the Journal is to theorectically provide the ultimate in peer-review.

-- Who are the editors, and why the anonymity?
We expect readers to notice the obvious enigma. We would first like to say that our editorial board indeed consists of editors with doctoral-qualifications and degrees in epidemiology and public health, and who have previously first-author published in leading journals, including JAMA. However, after careful consideration - due to the often controversial nature of decisions on what articles are worthy of recognizing and awarding, the editors have decided to not only remain anonymous to prevent personal attacks, but more importantly to allow editors to remain objective and humble in their daily personal lives. Finally, as an aside to the philosophy of anonymity in epidemiology -- it is also the policy of the secretive American Epidemiology Society (AES) to not officially divulge the entire membership of the society, nor publish any online site describing the nature of the organization. That said, we are not members of AES. However, in light of anonymity in other epidemiology organizations, and for our unique reasons discussed, we feel it is justified and appropriate to not disclose the identity of our editors, who volunteer our personal time and efforts and remain objective to the purposes of the Journal.

-- Will editors ever select their own article for an award?
No. We assure our readership that there will never be any personal conflicts-of-interest in recognizing and awarding any articles. Even if qualified, we swear an oath that no articles winning any awards will ever be personal works of the editors. That said, if sufficient external nominations are received for an editor's own article by chance, the article may be listed in the simple feature-list, without eligibility for any award.

-- Who retains copyright?
As described in the "about", Journal is open-access and the original author(s) retains original copyright of all works, consistent with BMC open-access policies.

-- Is the Journal indexed or have an ISSN?
We are also in the process of obtaining an ISSN, as well as negotiating with Pubmed Central, Medline, and Google Scholar. In the interim period, all articles will be cache-archived in Google, as well as the website server, owned by Google.

[Others to be added as they arise]

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