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The role of the journal and other matters
During the second world war, propaganda posters carried a message that asked, “Is this trip really necessary?” Their purpose was to persuade people to conserve gasoline. Prompted by the decision to limit free online access to subscribers, some board members and I examined the role this journal plays in fostering injury prevention internationally. We asked, in effect, if this journal was really needed. The answer is a firm “yes”.
To assess our contribution I visited the SafetyLit website: Injury Prevention Update (http://www.safetylit.org/). This website has a long list of journals that “are regularly scanned for articles that may be of interest to SafetyLit readers. The journals listed ... either have injury research and prevention as a main focus or print several injury-related articles each year”.
The number of journals that meet one or other of these criteria—260—is staggering, unexpected, and probably somewhat misleading. If it were an accurate reflection of the field, the answer to the rhetorical question in the title of this editorial would be in some doubt. But it seems that the number is misleading, depending in part on what is meant by “several” because it is difficult to believe that many of those listed publish even a single relevant paper in a typical year. Still, the number of journals is so large that it is a problem for any whose interest in injury prevention is not limited to a single topic such as burns or traffic.
To examine my question in more detail I arbitrarily divided the SafetyLit list into four broad categories: (1) mainstream general injury prevention journals; (2) mainstream specialized injury prevention journals; (3) journals with, at best, a related (indirect) connection to injury prevention; and (4) the remainder, general journals some of which do print some …