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Editorial  |   July 2009
To Prepare for Change, AOA Publications Turn to the Internet
Author Notes
  • Address correspondence to Gilbert E. D'Alonzo, Jr, DO, Editor in Chief, American Osteopathic Association, 142 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611-2864. E-mail: jaoa@osteopathic.org 
Article Information
Medical Education / Practice Management / Professional Issues / Being a DO / Graduate Medical Education
Editorial   |   July 2009
To Prepare for Change, AOA Publications Turn to the Internet
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, July 2009, Vol. 109, 352-353. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2009.109.7.352
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, July 2009, Vol. 109, 352-353. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2009.109.7.352
On July 19, 2009, the House of Delegates of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) decided that JAOA—The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association should save the planet from some 93,000 pounds of paper and nearly 2100 pounds of ink this fiscal year. In addition, the House decided that The DO magazine should consume 143,000 fewer pounds of paper this fiscal year, as well as 3500 fewer pounds of ink. 
To take these Earth-friendly steps, the House approved an AOA budget that calls for the JAOA to increase its reliance on its Web site while reducing its print circulation. Starting in October, the majority of DOs and most osteopathic medical students will no longer receive the JAOA in the mail. Instead, these readers will access The Journal mainly through electronic tables of contents, commonly known as eTOCs. These eTOCs, which the JAOA began distributing through e-mail in 2004, include hyperlinks that take readers to new articles as soon as they are posted on The Journal`s Web site. 
Two segments of the JAOA's audience will continue to receive The Journal in print: osteopathic primary care physicians and osteopathic internal medicine subspecialists. Pharmaceutical companies still prefer to reach osteopathic primary care physicians through print advertising, while internal medicine subspecialists are among the JAOA's most frequent contributors of research and other scholarly manuscripts. 
Freshman Michigan delegate William R. Morrone, DO, accesses online documents 2 days before the American Osteopathic Association's House of Delegates voted on the association's fiscal year 2009-2010 budget. (Photo by Michael Fitzgerald)
Freshman Michigan delegate William R. Morrone, DO, accesses online documents 2 days before the American Osteopathic Association's House of Delegates voted on the association's fiscal year 2009-2010 budget. (Photo by Michael Fitzgerald)
The DO, on the other hand, will stop producing print editions altogether after its September issue mails. It will be relaunched the next month as an online magazine with more sophisticated interactive features than are currently found on The DO's Web site. 
As a strictly online magazine, The DO will generate new articles in a more timely manner than is currently possible for its monthly print issues. Given the fast pace of such momentous developments as the US Congress' efforts to reform the healthcare system and nonphysician clinicians' attempts to expand their scope of practice, our readers can no longer wait the weeks it takes to print and mail The DO to learn where their colleagues and the AOA stand on such issues. 
So that osteopathic physicians and students learn of The DO's online content as quickly as it is posted, the magazine has established an RSS feed. Readers can add that news feed to their common feed lists and have The DO's newest headlines automatically downloaded to their Web browsers. 
Osteopathic physicians and osteopathic medical students can also keep track of current news about the profession by following The DO on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TheDOmagazine. Not only do The DO's tweets highlight new articles in the magazine, but they also offer interesting tidbits about DOs and students that appear on news sites, blogs, and elsewhere across the Web. 
In addition, to ensure that readers do not miss any important postings, The DO will follow the JAOA's example by issuing an eTOC once a month. These eTOCs will feature hyperlinks to all of the articles The DO has posted in the previous 28 to 31 days. 
Finally, to make The DO and the JAOA easy to find online even without the benefit of eTOCs, RSS feeds, and tweets, both publications have new URLs. The DO's is http://www.do-online.org/TheDO, and the JAOA's is http://www.do-online.org/JAOA. 
Time for Change
In adopting these changes to match their readers' increasing sophistication with technology, the JAOA and The DO will be heeding the call of the AOA's 2009-2010 president, Larry A. Wickless, DO. In his inaugural address, Dr Wickless called on the AOA to look for new opportunities and to lead the profession down the path of change to take advantage of those opportunities.1 
The JAOA's commitment to exploring new opportunities goes far beyond increasing online distribution of its issues. 
In June 2008, the JAOA adopted a new mission statement and a set of seven goals.2 Since then, the JAOA's editors and the JAOA Editorial Advisory Board have been exploring ways to enhance the advancement of osteopathic principles and practice in each of The Journal's sections and departments. As part of this effort, the Editorial Advisory Board would blend the JAOA's traditional content with new elements that would be relevant to practicing osteopathic physicians. 
While publishing original research would remain the JAOA's top priority, The Journal's editors will be recommending to the Editorial Advisory Board that we adopt new regular features, such as “bench to bedside” research, health policy articles, and updates on international osteopathy. The editors will also be recommending that we recruit volunteer DO and PhD section editors to guide each new section, determining content and soliciting manuscripts from thought leaders. 
The editors plan to have a proposal ready for the Editorial Advisory Board to review at its next joint meeting with the AOA Committee on Professional Publications, which will be held in November during the AOA's 114th Annual Osteopathic Medical Conference and Exposition in New Orleans, La. 
By the time the Editorial Advisory Board meets, another new initiative of the JAOA will be in its 10th month. Back in late January 2009, The Journal instituted access controls on its Web site. These controls are designed to demonstrate the value of AOA membership while raising revenue from nonmembers. 
Association members are able to access the JAOA's controlled content for free, using their AOA identification numbers and their DO-Online passwords. In contrast, nonmembers have pay-per-view options for accessing that content. 
Although the JAOA is looking to raise revenues through access controls, The Journal has set reasonable pay-per-view rates so as not to discourage researchers outside the profession, patients, and other nonmembers from viewing the JAOA's new online content. 
Another measure the JAOA has taken to keep nonmembers visiting its site is to limit the amount of content placed under access control. The controls apply to new JAOA issues for only 12 months, and not all new articles are password-protected. In addition, the online table of contents and abstracts of each new issue are open to all visitors, and all articles posted to the JAOA's Web site before January 2009 remain open. 
Change Benefits Bottom Line for the Future
Reducing the print distribution of the JAOA and eliminating The DO's will save the AOA more than $535,000 in paper, printing, and postage costs in the current fiscal year and nearly $870,000 in the next.3 
Those savings should free up AOA resources to help fund Dr Wickless' efforts to bring about other critical changes by advocating for appropriate health care reform measures, increasing osteopathic graduate medical education positions, and educating the public about osteopathic medicine. 
All DOs and students can assist the AOA's publications in this cost-saving endeavor by making sure that the AOA has their e-mail addresses. If you have not been receiving the JAOA's eTOCs each month, the AOA probably does not have your e-mail address. You can rectify that situation by contacting the AOA's Member Service Center by calling (800) 621-1773, extension 1; e-mailing msc@osteopathic.org; or writing to the Member Service Center, American Osteopathic Association, 142 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611-2864. 
I also urge you to sign up for The DO's RSS feed on the magazine's home page at http://do-online.org/TheDO and follow the magazine on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TheDOmagazine. 
These are just a few steps that members of the profession can take to join Dr Wickless and the AOA's publications on the path of change. 
The AOA has been down this path many times before and its members have always benefited from the journey. In fact, at the AOA House's 2009 meeting, the association's 1987-1988 president, Joseph W. Stella, DO, received a presidential citation from his 21st successor, Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, in honor of Dr Stella's commitment to anticipating and making changes.4 Dr Stella's presidency led to a better future in which osteopathic physicians trained in allopathic residency programs had an easier time obtaining AOA approval for that training.5,6 
I can think of few better words to convey the need for today's changes in the JAOA and The DO than those that Dr Stella used in his inaugural address in July 1987: “This profession has always been willing and able to anticipate change, to make changes whenever and wherever necessary, and to exploit these changes when we had to. I strongly believe that this part of our heritage will be the most important factor in determining our future.”6 
 This editorial is based in part on the editorial in the June 2009 issue of The DO and on the editor in chief's 2009 annual written report. The editor in chief's report was distributed during the opening sessions of the annual meetings of the American Osteopathic Association's Board of Trustees and its House of Delegates on Tuesday, July 14, 2009, and Friday, July 17, 2009, respectively, in Chicago, Ill.
 
 The DO's June editorial can be accessed at http://www.do-online.org/pdf_do0609editor.pdf.
 
 The editor in chief's report can be accessed at http://www.do-online.org/pdf/2009InformationalReports.pdf.
 
Wickless LA. Leading change: a new foundation for the AOA [inaugural address]. Talk presented at: the 2009 annual meeting of the American Osteopathic Association's House of Delegates; July 18, 2009; Chicago, Ill. Available at: http://www.do-online.org/index.cfm?PageID=aoa_execWicklessinaug. Accessed July 20, 2009.
Rogers FJ. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say [editorial]. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2008;108:281-282. Available at: http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/content/full/108/6/281. Accessed July 13, 2009.
D'Alonzo GE Jr. We're moving to the Net [editorial]. The DO. June 2009;50:9. Available at: http://www.do-online.org/pdf/pub_do0609editor.pdf. Accessed July 13, 2009.
DiMarco CJ. Presidential citation to Joseph W. Stella, DO.Presented at: the 2009 annual meeting of the American Osteopathic Association's House of Delegates ; July 17 ,2009; Chicago, Ill.
Titus K. Dr Stella looks back at two years at the top. The DO. October(1988). ;29:80-81.
Fitzgerald M. Joseph W. Stella, DO, sees profession as commitment. The DO. October(1987). ;28:81-84.♦
Freshman Michigan delegate William R. Morrone, DO, accesses online documents 2 days before the American Osteopathic Association's House of Delegates voted on the association's fiscal year 2009-2010 budget. (Photo by Michael Fitzgerald)
Freshman Michigan delegate William R. Morrone, DO, accesses online documents 2 days before the American Osteopathic Association's House of Delegates voted on the association's fiscal year 2009-2010 budget. (Photo by Michael Fitzgerald)