When I reviewed the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) app a few months ago (1) I was a fan of the great user interface and how the Journal presented medical literature in an innovative fashion.
What I wasn’t a fan of was the lack of a Retina Display and the inability to do detailed annotations and note taking within the articles.
The NEJM changed all this with a significant update last month.
The most notable updates are the ability to download the articles as PDF files and the addition of true retina display support. When you download the PDF files within the app, you’re able to open them in dedicated PDF annotation apps.
This is a big deal.
The NEJM is a standard bearer in not only medicine, but mobile. They were one of the first journals to leverage the iOS platform (2) and created one of the most popular medical apps to date — “This Week” by NEJM. They also have a NEJM Image Challenge app. Many Journals have followed suit, as we’ve documented in an article listing all the Journals available for the iPad platform (3).
The NEJM could have decided on a closed platform and not allowed PDF downloading — this is the norm with other journal apps. In medicine we often become accustomed to Journals and Medical textbooks being closed silos. It seems like the last thing medical publishers want to do is allow the end user to manipulate content, even if it’s for their own benefit.
Kudos must be given to the NEJM for their foresight. They understood many Physicians like to annotate their articles in a detailed format, and although we can still access the PDFs in an online fashion, they choose to make it even easier by building this functionality within their app.
At the time of the review (1), I mentioned the NEJM iPad app was a must have for those with subscriptions already, but not worthy of purchasing a new subscription alone.
After the significant updates made by their latest update, my opinion has changed.
The New England Journal of Medicine continues to be the standard bearer in mobile — and their app is well worth a new subscription to the Journal.