The First Academic Journal on Apple’s Newsstand is a Medical One

One of the major introductions of iOS 5 was Newsstand.

Newsstand keeps all your app subscriptions in one place and automatically downloads the latest issue in the background.

Until now, Newsstand has not offered any subscriptions relevant to medicine however that has all changed with the introduction of the British Medical Journal. We have previously reviewed the BMJ app noting that “The app itself is cleverly designed and an excellent example of a print journal converted into electronic form“.

At the end of that article, we commented on the future possibility of using Newsstand as an electronic distribution method and now it seems that this is a reality.

UK users who download the BMJ app from the iTunes store will now be pleasantly surprised to see a new subscription added to their Newsstand. Once the user has subscribed/logged in, the app will check for new downloads and automatically collect the latest issue on a weekly basis. The app itself has remained unchanged and is in the same format that we were so impressed with last time. For more information on the app itself, please see our review here.

This marks an interesting point in the world of academic journals. As more and more healthcare professionals use mobile medical technology to access their publications, so the demand for resources like Newsstand increases. The BMJ is paving the way ahead for many other respectable journals to follow in their footsteps. There are now a number of major journals such as Circulation, Neurology, and Anesthiology amongst others who are releasing an electronic version alongside their paper version.

However, none of these are taking advantage of Apple’s Newsstand. This means that the user has to remember to manually download new editions when they become available

Newsstand is having a huge effect on the publishing industry driving sales and subscriptions up to record levels-The NY Times indicated that their app download rate jumped to seven times the previous level. Using the iPad as a content delivery platform ensures that access to essential information is now quicker, simpler and most importantly easier than ever before.

By improving content delivery, the BMJ, Newsstand and the iPad ensure that the latest evidence based information is in the hands of physicians in the most important place: on the front line.

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Tom Lewis


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3 Responses to The First Academic Journal on Apple’s Newsstand is a Medical One

  1. Ash January 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    I’ve long been frustrated and puzzled by the slow pace of change in medical and scientific publishing. It took a surprisingly long time for the industry to adopt PDF for journal articles, though it’s now unthinkable for a journal to appear in print only. Now the industry is once again proving slow to adopt digital distribution for e-readers.

    The New England Journal seemed to make early progress, and its iPhone app is certainly worth having. It’s annoying that their initiative fizzled out, though, and no iPad version of their app has been forthcoming.

    The American Academy of Neurology, whose flagship journal Tom mentioned above, has generally been excellent and forward-thinking in digital distribution. They have 2-3 journals available online, and the apps in all instances are of high quality. As with all stand-alone journal apps, though, they lack the massive advantage of automatic background downloading that Newsstand apps enjoy.

    Notably absent are the major journals like Science, Nature, and The Lancet. NEJM also lacks a true digital edition, and Elsevier Press’s lineup is entirely absent. Why are the leaders in the field so slow to move ahead? It’s incredibly frustrating. If these organizations had real customers instead of institutional subscribers, I think things would change much more quickly.

  2. Robert Fraser MN RN January 19, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    This is incredibly exciting, despite the fact that I agree with Ash and wanted this a long time ago. I really hope that Nursing journals begin to follow!

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