With this December issue, NEUROPENEWS has published 12 issues in 2012: one year of presence in the Neuroweb panorama and for the EFNS web-linked fellows. So, it is the right time for a summary and self-examination.
Our records show that NEUROPENEWS has achieved 90,000 hits per month that is more than 3000 people connected to our site, each spending more than five minutes reading NEUROPENEWS.
We do not have a historical confrontation with the previous EFNS newsletters that were 4-8 pages in paper, mainly filled with reports on EFNS activities, photo-groups of neurologists attending Teaching Courses or regional Conferences, and with the calendar of events-to-be.
In general, the consideration of those newsletters was quite flat.
In 2011 we were asked by the EFNS President, Prof. Richard Hughes, to revitalise this EFNS newsletter, and therefore we analysed many paper newsletter from other organizations, from the World Federation of Neurology downward. And we had the impression (wrong? right?) that the paper format was too still, too archaic, smelling dead. We were looking for something fresher, more active, interactive, in particular considering our 19,000 EFNS-related neurologists, of whom only 5000-6000 were attending our Congress. How to reach the other 2/3rds of our potential neurological audience? How to elicit their interest? How to be useful to them?
The decision to go into the web was the easiest one.
We then analysed web-newsletters both in neurology as well as in other medical fields.
We found all different possibilities: from a very concise trimestral newsletter containing the calendar of future events, fellowships, and other related business, to a newsletter full of scientific confrontations and debates.
Looking at similar newsletters, it was clear that ours had to contain: a) the news from our Society, about conferences, teaching courses and other activities; b) something scientific; c) something clinical. However what was missing was the interaction between the readers and the newsletter.
To achieve a minimal interaction with our potential readers, we had to renew the contents of our newsletter quite frequently, and so we decided to publish our newsletter on a monthly basis, with fresh material and quick answers to eventual questions and criticism.
The present format is the result of our internal discussions on how to cope with these duties – with pros and with contras.
The TOP12 section is probably the section that is causing more internal discussion. The original aim was to introduce to our readers articles that were more “hot” on the international scenario. So it was decided that the TOP12 section should present the scientific neurological papers, one per topic related to the EFNS Scientist Panels, selected on the basis of the number of quotations received to date. In the 12 issues of the 2012 volume we have therefore presented the TOP12 papers published in the year 2009. The pro has been that the grades obtained were firmly established. The contra was that some paper could have looked already obsolete.
Where to go?
We have decided to change this section. Beginning in January 2013, in every issue the list of the TOP12 that is the papers with more quotations, published in the year 2011 and (separately) in the year 2012, will be presented, with a link to have direct access to the papers. The list will be adjourned every month.
For the articles which will show themselves very high in rating, we will do our best to publish a comment from the Chairman of the related EFNS Scientist Panel.
One other goal that in our opinion is so far missed is the role of the Grand Round cases. While we are very happy and grateful to the authors for the quality of the case reports submitted, what we are still missing are case reports from single “peripheral” neurologists seeking for suggestions in terms of diagnosis, management and therapy for neurological patients with difficult presentations. Neuropenews could be the place (the “FORUM”?) where to seek for advice by more senior (we will not use the term experienced) colleagues.
Possibly this result would need more time.
We have also opened in the Forum a space for the “voices” from patients and relatives. In this December issue there is the first of such voices.
Here ends our Christmas Message. All the NEUROPENEWS crew is at work to improve this web-link between EFNS (and in the near future EAN) and our readers. We will be grateful to those of our readers who will spend a couple of minutes to email us their suggestions, criticisms, and… Christmas Greetings as well.
We thank all our contributers and readers and wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Gian Luigi Lenzi & David B. Vodušek