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Gerald A. Smith
07-20-1995, 09:39 AM
Like many conferences, the recent XVth Congress of the
International Society of Biomechanics (Jyvaskyla, Finland) included
an assortment of excellent keynote and award lectures. These ISB
presentations have traditionally been collected as papers published
in the Journal of Biomechanics (usually with a delay of about 1.5
years from the time of presentation).

At the ISB general meeting in Jyvaskyla, David Winter raised a
question about such papers: they are usually review papers dealing
with several or even a lifetime of research projects and don't fit
the typical model for "original articles . . . entailing an
exploration of some explicit hypothesis or reporting original but
substantial observations of data" (J. Biomechanics instructions to
contributors).

Winter's question about the written format of such review papers
and the nature of the peer review of them raised some important
issues which the biomechanics community might contribute to. I
personally find listening to such presentations to be a wonderful
way to update my understanding of general biomechanical topics.
Part of the attractiveness of such reviews is that they are very
current but also can impart a sense of history about the scientific
endeavor.

With the above as preface, I would like to raise a question for
discussion:

Is it time for the ISB to move to other media for
"publication" of papers of general interest to the
biomechanics community?

Would electronic publication of keynote lectures using hypertext on
the web perhaps provide a better service to the biomechanics
community than does the relatively slow process of traditional
print publication. In addition, "publishing" such papers on the
web would allow multimedia presentation--including video or sound
clips where relevant. For example, Stuart McGill's
videofluoroscopy recording of a low back injury actually happening
could be included as a visual supplement to the text describing his
work.

My impression is that the hypermedia format could perhaps retain
more of the interactive feel of the live presentations and could be
available in a more timely manner than can traditional print
publication. How do others view this idea? What are the costs/
benefits of changing to a more interactive form of publication for
papers of general interest to the biomechanics community?

Regards,

Gerald Smith
Biomechanics Lab
Oregon State University

email: smithg@ccmail.orst.edu
phone: 503-737-5928