The NEJM does it again. Sort of.

A twitter conversation as to merits of using social media for high value journals took place recently.  High value as in top medical journals in the world, such as the New England Journal of Medicine, NEJM. I have no idea of their subscription rate, but would venture a guess at a gazillion.

This conversation centered around accessibility of articles – free articles (also known as open access) means they can be shared, whereas subscription articles, means that the journal makes money but only subscribers can read them.

The story goes like this: A bunch of juicy looking articles come up in my email – one set  is from the Scientific American Journal Mind (part of the Nature group of journals now – Nature also being highly esteemed in research circles), the other is NEJM.

I click on Scientific American and get a bunch of  ‘accessed denied’ ‘log in’ ‘subscribe’ rude messages to each and every article I click.  The shame of it is, I would have shared it to a twitter and facebook network – mine and a research network, Body in Mind. They would have had double whammy exposure.  But I couldn’t access them, so I didn’t share.

Then I read NEJM articles – the first two articles I clicked were both open access. I read. I shared.

Here’s the clever bit -and what they are currently navigating – they have a subscription model (they still need to make money to run the journal) and they have open articles, using social media to enable us to share.  BUT, not all to the full advantage. The better the use of social media, the greater their exposure, the greater their chance of more subscriptions.

Discussing this conversation recently with a Journals Publisher at Elsevier this is a big deal at the moment in journals publishing. So, for publishers especially, this twitter conversation is worth a squizz, it is between me and @DrVes – an advisor to NEJM, amongst other things, blogger, expert user of social media in a clinical and research context. At his suggestion I have gathered the tweets. NEJM do some things well, some things poorly, and some almost a criminal waste of opportunity to share their expertise. (in the tweets below SM = social media)

New England Medical Journal Twitter conversationNew England Medical Journal twitter conversation

and so I did go to the NEJM facebook page to see if they had interacted with any of the people who had commented on the facebook page. Each link they post generates a shed load of comments by readers (seriously, loads). To my utter surprise there were no replies from the NEJM.

NEJM Lancet JAMA twitter conversation

Go on @NEJM – do some podcasts, blogging, real time social media.  Please.