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Today's bridge between local and international

Posted by plosmedicine on 30 Mar 2009 at 23:59 GMT

Author: Zhenglun Pan
Position: Attending doctor, MD
Institution: Department of Rheumatology, Shandong Provincial Hospital, Jinan, China
Additional Authors: Jin Gao
Submitted Date: September 07, 2006
Published Date: September 12, 2006
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

We read with great interest your debate "Have Online International Medical Journals Made Local Journals Obsolete?". We believe that the aim of medical research is to improve the health of human beings all over the world. Online international journals can achieve a spirit of unification, solidarity, and most importantly, communication. In this internet age, these journals serve as a world forum, they aid in the dissemination of important data, and contribute to medical progress.

However, there are a great amount of local journals in the world, especially in China, Korean, Japan and so on. Most of these local journals have gone online now with the development of internet. For example, the Chinese Journal Full-Text Database covers 8,000 journals from 1979, including 167,000,000 full text papers, and it is accessible with username and password. Yet they are defined as local journals for the reason that they are not indexed by international database such as Pubmed\Ebase\ISI and so on.

It is undeniable that local journals contains important findings which are lost in translation and are never heard about, as one of our own papers has demonstrated (1). Local does not means unworthy or insignificant, but a failure of communication, especially in the field of genetics and in questions of population concern.

People might argue that language accounts for the barrier of local journals and international journals. It is reasonable because most of the scientist in US and UK could not understand Chinese, Japanese and so on, and English is not the official language in China and Japan and so on. The situation will last for a long run. However, we are delighted to see the situation is changing; medical students in China now take English seriously and most of them have passed college English test band six.

One of the methods to solve the dilemma is to enforce international collaboration of common interest. We believe this level of communication will bring local to international. It is unquestionable that open access will contribute to the communication, no matter for the local journals and international journals. For me, reading PLoS papers at home has turn to be a habit, and I enjoy it.


Pan Z, Trikalinos TA, Kavvoura FK, Lau J, Ioannidis JPA (2005) Local literature bias in genetic epidemiology: An empirical evaluation of the Chinese literature. PLoS Med 2: e334

Competing interests declared: None