Reproductive medicine is a rapidly progressing field which generates a wealth of original and innovative research. As the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) gets ready to welcome a new open access journal to its prestigious family, we meet the Editor-in-Chief, Professor Siladitya Bhattacharya, to find out how he sees the field developing in the future, and what he has in store for Human Reproduction Open (HROpen).
How do you see this field developing in the future?
Advances in science such as the “omics” revolution have the potential to transform our understanding of reproductive biology and our approach to the management of subfertility. New techniques of ovarian stimulation, embryo culture, optimising implantation, and assessing embryo quality could make assisted reproduction safer and more effective. A personalised, prognosis-based approach could transform the way treatments are evaluated and implemented. At the same time, an expectation of conception on demand could prompt a redefinition of infertility and over-medicalisation of reproduction. There is a need to strike a balance between the availability of technology and its application in diverse social, ethical, and legal contexts. Harnessing the power of scientific discovery in order to provide treatments which benefit society will remain a key challenge.
What are the key benefits of open access publishing?
The internet has transformed the nature and speed of communication in all walks of life, including academia and clinical decision making. An open access model is rapidly becoming the currency of research dissemination and there is a general agreement that scholarship should not be the preserve of a few. Scientists and clinicians across the world are hungry for services that can keep them abreast of the latest advances in science and medicine. Another key element of 21st century communication is immediacy—already evident in current styles of news coverage and social media use. Open access publishing facilitates rapid dissemination of scientific knowledge and potentially quicker implementation of effective treatments.
What are you most looking forward about being the Editor-in-Chief of Human Reproduction Open?
I am hugely excited about being in the vanguard of this initiative aimed at communicating high quality research in reproductive medicine in a more accessible way, to a new generation of clinicians, patients, and scientists. An open access format will allow tremendous freedom in terms of innovative ways of presenting scientific results. It is able to initiate and maintain a dialogue between authors and readers in real time and will hopefully encourage patients to access lay summaries of research relevant to their care. To me, this last element is one of the most innovative aspects of this journal which could play a crucial role in encouraging evidence-based, patient-centred decision making in reproductive medicine.
How do you see the journal developing in the future?
I see this journal playing a central role in providing a digital platform to facilitate the dialogue between those who generate high quality scientific output and those use it to make clinical decisions. To this end we will continue to innovate – in terms of content as well as delivery to provide a customised experience for our readers. I see this journal widening access to high standards of scientific knowledge on a global scale and addressing the needs of the next generation of readers to whom the electronic multimedia format is the natural vehicle for exchanging ideas. The actual format of the journal will be similar to the other ESHRE journals but I envisage that we may consider a number of multimedia options to get the key messages across. The strength of this journal will be its ability to respond to changing demands from our readers and evolving digital technology.
What do you think readers will take away from the journal?
For clinicians – this journal will offer a unique mix of cutting edge primary research, reviews, debates, and commentaries on topics of current interest. We aim to encourage debate around the articles published in the longer term. For scientists, it is an opportunity to ensure that their research can be accessed rapidly by a much wider constituency thus maximising potential for much greater impact. For patients, who are increasingly keen to have more ownership of clinical decisions, it offers an opportunity to understand their condition and effective ways of treating it.
Featured image credit: Pregnancy by widephish. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay.