|William K. Mallon, MD||Immediate Past-President, California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians|
|Stuart P. Swadron, MD||Immediate Past-President, California Chapter of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine|
When you look at the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine’s (WestJEM) cover and masthead this month you will see something new: two logos side by side, the California Chapter of AAEM (CAL/AAEM) and the California Chapter of ACEP (CAL/ACEP). Based on an agreement forged this year, CAL/ACEP has joined CAL/AAEM and the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in the sponsorship of the journal. All members of CAL/ACEP will now receive the journal electronically through the CAL/ACEP Sacramento office.
WestJEM and its predecessor, the California Journal of Emergency Medicine (CalJEM), have been a part of the peer-reviewed literature in emergency medicine for almost a decade. Over the past few years, the editorial staff has devoted itself to the task of transforming WestJEM from a regional journal to one of national (and indeed international) significance. The journal provides a venue for authors to present high quality research and educational content of interest to a worldwide community of emergency physicians, both academic and clinical. As the number and variety of submissions have increased briskly, a growing and conscientious editorial team has improved standards for reporting, disclosure and methodology. An important measure of the journal’s success is its recent inclusion in Pub Med Central (www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov), the electronic archive service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. This is a critical milestone for any independent journal, and it indicates a broad acceptance into the academic community.
WestJEM has always been an open access journal – that means that it is free to access from any web portal in the world at www.westjem.org. In today’s global outreach to help advance medical care in developing countries, as well as the U.S., free timely access to medical knowledge is vital. WestJEM is also doing its part to provide information to increase the spread of the specialty of emergency medicine throughout the world. WestJEM is an open access journal with high transparency and academic fidelity, adhering to a Creative Commons non-commercial attribution license, which allows authors to retain copyright and promotes others to build on the presented findings through referencing the original work.
So, while many have asked the question “do we really need another journal for emergency medicine?,” we feel that the very nature and success of WestJEM make the answer self-evident. We obviously need this type of journal in our field.
It has not been easy. Early this year, the founding sponsors, CAL/AAEM and UC Irvine, were struggling with the financial burden of maintaining WestJEM’s viability. As the size and scope of the journal expanded over the past couple of years, the financial burden was increasing andWestJEM was reaching out for additional sponsorship that would guarantee the journal’s future. In an unusual move, the founders of WestJEM reached across what many perceive as a “divide” to approach CAL/ACEP as a potential partner in sponsoring the journal.
While at the national level AAEM and ACEP have had their share of rows, in California a spirit of cooperation and collaboration has existed between the two state chapters for many years. In California we can agree to disagree on some issues, and genuinely agree on many more. Through it all the discourse remains civil and productive to both societies. Dr. Tom Sugarman took the lead negotiating position on behalf of the CAL/ACEP board, and we are both grateful for his efforts. We would also like to recognize the efforts of Drs. Steve Gabaeff and Ingrid Lim on behalf of CAL/AAEM and Drs. Shahram Loftipour and Mark Langdorf at the journal to help us reach an agreement that enables the three organizations to come together to ensure a bright future for a burgeoning journal.
Finalizing this deal was the last important piece of business in both of our respective presidencies, and it is gratifying to see this once-distant dream become a reality. Although important issues needed to be addressed initially to safeguard the interests of both societies, it soon became apparent that the vast majority on both Boards of Directors wanted this agreement to proceed. After months of meetings, drafts, redrafts, votes, conference calls and a lot of patience, we were eventually able to find a way to address the concerns of all parties.
This collaboration means a lot to both of us. We believe that the California emergency medicine community as a whole benefits when we work together. Hopefully this will also help push along other collaborations between our two societies in other states and throughout the whole nation. While CAL/AAEM and CAL/ACEP still have differences in philosophy and approach, we feel that our efforts on many issues can be synergistic and constructive. We recommend that our residents become members of both CAL/ACEP and CAL/AAEM, and we recognize that they both have a role in protecting their future and that of their chosen specialty.
One more important point: both CAL/ACEP and CAL/AAEM have agreed that the journal is a place for scholarship, not politics. The editorial board remains appropriately independent of all sponsoring societies and its singular goal is to generate the best possible journal each quarter.
So, please continue to enjoy WestJEM. Encourage your colleagues to read it, participate in its content and consider receiving a print copy for all emergency physicians in a practice at a very low yearly departmental subscription rate. Now, more than ever, we can truly say, “This is our journal!”
Full text available through open access at http://escholarship.org/uc/uciem_westjem
Conflicts of Interest: By the WestJEM article submission agreement, all authors are required to disclose all affiliations, funding sources, and financial or management relationships that could be perceived as potential sources of bias. The authors disclosed none.