– Dr Rockson Samuel, Dr Nupur Shrirao
Dr Rockson has been working in the digital sphere for 10 years now, and Dr Nupur for 5. We would say that dental publications have definitely been much easier to read and contribute to, because of digitisation in publications. Let us understand what the different types of digital publications are.
Simplifying Publications & Education Modes
The most common mode of ongoing print-based education is through periodicals. Periodicals include:
- as well as any publication that comes out on a regular basis.
They contain original research, conclusions based on data, footnotes and end notes, and more often than not include an abstract and bibliography.
In the last two decades, most periodicals have been upgraded to their own digital versions, making them more accessible for people to read globally, in the comfort of their institutes or homes instead of dusty libraries.
The last two decades have also seen a rise in social media, and along with it, use of the same social media to connect with peers and discuss dental education in a format much different from periodicals.
For ease of understanding, I am going to simplify publications into three types:
- Education through dental journals
- Education through dental magazines
- Education through dental social media channels
Education through dental journals
A dental journal is an online journal that is devoted to providing useful information about various topics related to dentistry. It is a perfect platform for dental professionals to share their knowledge and experience with other like-minded individuals. The articles published here are written by top dental experts in the field in a formal, scientific way of writing.
Academic journals are peer-reviewed by experts in the field and published after a rigorous exchange of corrections, revisions, acceptance and rejections through a process which may last from a few months to a few years. Hence, getting published in a dental journal is not easy and can be done only if you have time on your hands. However, since it has maximum weightage in dental institutions, if you are a researcher or academician wanting to publish your original research, a dental journal is an apt mode of publication.
There are many different types of dental journals available today. Some are published monthly, others are bi-monthly, and still others are quarterly. Each journal has a different focus. Some are focused on research, while others are focused on clinical practice. However, do note that some journals have ‘free access articles’ while some have ‘pay to read’ articles. Most journal databases also require a paid subscription to read, which may prove to be a hindrance to a wide readership. Regardless of this, dental journals definitely provide a great way for dentists to stay relevant and informed in their field.
Education through dental magazines
A magazine is a publication aimed at a specific audience, covering recent issues and topics through articles, interviews, and personal narratives usually backed with documentation and references, but not as elaborate as dental journals. Magazines have lots of eye-catching illustrations and are often written in easy words, understandable to most people.
Magazines are generally not peer reviewed, but most do pass through a strict editing process by experts before publication. Since topics are covering recent issues mostly comprising of case reports, reviews and opinion pieces or blog-style articles, it is not time consuming to get published in a magazine. If any of these topics interests you, a dental magazine should be your publication of your choice for getting published. Although not as much as dental journals, dental magazines also hold good credibility and weightage in dental institutions.
In addition to traditional pictures, graphs and flowcharts, digital magazines have provisions for embedding your podcasts and videos along with your article for better understanding; and personal social media links for personal promotion, which is not possible in conventional journals.
The content of dental magazines is usually free, which makes it accessible to a large audience and enables global readership.
There are many benefits of publishing in a dental magazine, because of which, students to stalwarts prefer this mode of education to get their message out there.
- The most important one is visibility. Being published in a dental magazine will get your article or even your dental product seen by thousands of dentists all over the world. These readers are a very targeted group of people who have a strong interest in oral health.
- The second biggest benefit is credibility. Dental magazines are read by other professionals in the dental field. So being published in one will give you an instant boost in credibility, much higher than ads in general circulation magazines or your personal website blog.
- A third benefit is promotion. Many dentists enjoy reading the articles and products that are featured in dental magazines because of its easy and attractive presentation; and the dentist who reads your article will be much more likely to contact you for patient referrals or purchase the products that you are selling.
Education through dental social media channels
Educative social media is a new form of social media. It combines all the best features of traditional social media with educational content. The content is usually related to a specific topic and consists of pictures with explanations in captions – and is absolutely free to read. People can post their own thoughts and opinions on this topic. Everyone uses social media these days, so reactions to your cases or opinions is instant. This is a great way for people to learn about a specific topic. They can also get answers to some of their questions. Since attention span of audience today is limited, this is the most attractive mode of education for dentists.
There are many different ways that you can do this. You can create a website with an opt-in form where people can sign up and receive your newsletter with your professional blog articles. You can also make your own Facebook page, an Instagram account, LinkedIn account or a YouTube channel, or join other such accounts on these platforms and post actively. These are great ways to stay in touch with your colleagues and fans! This is a good opportunity for dentists to also be able to communicate with their patients on a more personal level, which is not possible with journals or magazines. Many dentists use social media to advertise their practice and find new patients by providing patient-targeted dental education.
However, given the nature of social media platforms, there is no peer review or editing process involved on these platforms. There is no need of providing evidence or citing references, and under the pressure of making posts attractive and short, the content may not be elaborate enough for deeper understanding, Hence, credibility is a big issue. Additionally, Facebook and Instagram posts hold zero weightage in dental institutions, however huge the following, likes or comments are. If instant responses or quickest and easiest mode of publication is what you are looking for, then social media should be your pick.
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You can check out our LinkedIn account here.
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- Reading publications is a path to keep yourself relevant, updated, on your toes and in tandem with what’s happening around the world, getting you of the frog-in-the-pond mentality or stagnation which we may slip into as the years go by.
- Contributing to publications is a way to get recognised in your field and get applauded by your own peers, which serves as a much needed pat-on-the-back as we progress into our careers.
- Digitization has made publications easy and accessible at our finger tips.
- Depending on your needs, you can pick any one type of digital publication and be ready to roll!
Writing? That too an article, for Dental Magazines?
Meh! I don’t even write the content for my Dental Practice website (that my service provider is asking for)
Are you the one who says such things when asked about writing content for your website or for dental magazines? If YES is your answer, please read along the 7 Benefits of getting featured in Dental Magazines.
Samuel R. Digitalization in publication. J Oral Med, Oral Surg, Oral Pathol, Oral Radiol 2021;7(4):1-2.