I am Steven J Wang, MD, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of California (Figure 1) and together with Tsutomu Nakashima, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Nagoya University, will be the co-Editor-in-Chief of the World Journal of Otorhinolaryngology (World J Otorhinolaryngol, WJO, online ISSN 2218-6247, DOI: 10.5319). I am pleased to announce the first issue of the WJO, on which preparation was initiated on December 1, 2010, is officially published on December 28, 2011. The WJO Editorial Board has now been established and consists of over 100 distinguished experts from 26 countries.
Advances in science and medicine are progressing at an ever more rapid pace. Journal publications represent the primary mechanism through which scientists and clinicians share their research work. In the traditional model, research publications are submitted to a limited number of medical and scientific journals. Following a peer-review process, there is subsequently a considerable time period where the research article’s status is ‘in press’ before reaching final print publication. The increasing costs of paper publication result in rising subscription prices for journal readers, limiting access of new research articles primarily to large research institutions and universities. It is clear that conventional methods of dissemination of research findings have become inadequate to keep up with new discoveries. Thus, new models of scientific publication are required. Online, electronic journals can dramatically reduce publishing costs compared to print journals, while still providing an equivalent reading experience with articles that can be downloaded by the user in PDF format. Electronic journals also have greater freedom to publish more research articles of worthy scientific merit without being bound by page limit restrictions. Open-access journals provide free distribution of research articles to the public, increasing the dissemination of important findings beyond a limited number of large institutions.
AIMS AND SCOPE
The pace of discovery in otorhinolaryngology and related fields of research follow similar patterns as the rest of science and medicine, making timely publication of new research in our field more important than ever. And yet, many of us have experienced the frustration of waiting times of a year or more until our “accepted, in press” research articles finally reach print publication. New otorhinolaryngology research findings with direct relevance to patient care are not accessible to clinicians around the world who need the information but do not have the resources to pay for costly journal subscriptions.
These are exciting times for otorhinolaryngology research. Continual improvements are being made to restore hearing for the severely and profoundly deaf. New understanding of the pathophysiology of chronic sinusitis has advanced treatment for this disease. Advances in human tissue engineering appear on the cusp of providing new methods for laryngotracheal and mandibular reconstruction. In the field of head and neck oncology, the identification of the human papilloma virus as the cause of increasing numbers of oropharyngeal cancers has led to a myriad of new areas of head and neck cancer research, from the study of novel molecular tumor pathways to ground-breaking clinical trials that test the merit of treatment de-intensification for select patients. Recent engineering advances in video, endoscopy, image-guidance, and robotic technology have resulted in new minimally invasive approaches to skull base and pharyngolaryngeal tumors. These and other similar rapidly growing areas of research highlight the need for an efficient, high-quality scientific forum for the dissemination of otorhinolaryngology research.
Otorhinolaryngology represents a field of medicine that encompasses study of some of the most critical functions - voice, speech, hearing, smell, taste-associated with how we as human beings interact with the outside world. Diseases that affect these functions, whether they be infectious, traumatic, neoplastic, or inflammatory, can profoundly impact the individual sufferer. Medical disorders, such as ear infections, sinusitis, hearing loss, allergies, voice problems, and head and neck cancer, are amongst the most common reasons for which people seek medical care. Thus, it is important that new methods or techniques for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation for otorhinolaryngologic disease be reported in a timely fashion.
Is there a risk to overly rapid scientific dissemination? Will the addition of one more otolaryngology journal result in dilution of quality scientific research articles? One recalls the disappointment when yet another apparent scientific breakthrough must be retracted upon follow-up research data, or when more in-depth analysis of already published data reveals flaws in methodology or worse. At the WJO, it is our intention to maintain high scientific standards. We have assembled a prestigious editorial board of over 100 experts in the field of otorhinolaryngology representing at least 26 countries. All submitted publications, including this one, undergo peer-review by appropriate experts in the field, whose names and affiliations will be noted in the article to acknowledge their contributions. We believe that recent expansion of knowledge in otorhinolaryngology indicates that there is a need for a new journal, and that timely reporting of new research findings made possible by the open-access, online publishing model will serve to benefit our field.
The aims of WJO are to quickly report the most recent research findings in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation in the field of otorhinolaryngology. The journal publishes original articles and reviews on the following topics: diagnostic imaging, endoscopy, rhinology, laryngology, otology, oncology, pediatric otorhinolaryngology, epidemiology, traditional medicine, and integrated Chinese and Western medicine.