The most reliable medical information on the Internet—the contents of peer-reviewed medical journals—is hidden from the public and most of the world's physicians. Although most medical journals are available online, their publishers limit access to those who choose, and can afford, to pay for access. This should not, and need not, be so. *
Yay! The first issue of PLoS Medicine is out, and it looks like a fine addition to the PLoS achievements. Some interesting articles:
* There's a neat "PLoS Medicine Debate" feature. This issue's debate topic: Should Health Professionals Screen All Women for Domestic Violence? I'm very pleased that the editors have recognized the usefulness of such discussions in an open-access medical journal; this alone would be enough to show that PLoS Medicine won't be a pale imitation of PLoS Biology, but will have its own style, tailored to its subject.
* There's an interesting essay on dealing with the AIDS/HIV epidemic; as well as a fascinating essay on surgical research.
* There's a "Neglected Diseases" feature, which highlights a neglected disease or a novel strategy for dealing with a neglected issue in health care. This one is on the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative.
* There's a "Perspectives" feature, "for experts to discuss the clinical practice or public health implications of a published study that is freely available online."
* There's a "Policy Forum" feature on health care policy.
* There's a "Learning Forum" geared toward "a general medical audience" - i.e., people who have some sort of background in medicine and are interested in clinical issues.
* And, of course, there are case reports and research articles.
Incidentally, those interested in medical issues, might also be interested in Grand Rounds, the blog carnival for medical blogs. They often discuss issues of medicine and politics, as well as critically examine medical information in the media.