Nature Research and Scripps launch digital medicine-focused journal

By Heather Mack
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Nature Research has teamed up with Scripps Translational Science Institute to launch a new international journal that will focus on digital health, the organizations announced this week.

The journal, npj Digital Medicine, is under the Nature Partner Journal series and will publish original papers and review articles that aim to guide innovation in health tied to digital and mobile technologies such as virtual healthcare, data analytic methodologies, sensor development and others.

“This shift towards a democratization of medicine and an increase in citizen science heralds the beginning of a new era in medicine,” Martin Delahunty, Nature Research’s global director of Nature Partner Journals, said in a statement. “While these are still the early days for digital medicine, research in this field is thriving, and these pioneering studies currently lack a suitable venue for publication.”

While there has been in increase in clinical trials and studies using digital medicine technologies, there hasn’t been a centralized hub for research on such technologies that provides the necessary data for longitudinal monitoring to inform the wider medical community. That’s what npj Digital Medicine wants to be.

“With STSI as our academic partner…we have an opportunity to develop a leading journal that supports research in this rapidly emerging field,” said Delahunty.

Dr. Eric Topol, professor of genomics and the founder of STSI, and Dr. Steven Steinhubl, who is director of digital medicine at Scripps Health, will serve as editor-in-chiefs of the journal.

Topol said digital tools have the potential to dramatically impact clinical decision-making by giving physicians new insights into each patient’s individual physiological parameters, and said there has been a need for a new journal specifically diving into this field.

“Medicine, as we know it, is undergoing rapid transformation with our ability to digitize the medical essence of each individual,” Topol said in a statement. “One example is the array of wearable devices and sensors that allows individuals to monitor their own health and gather even continuous data in the real world.”

In addition to publishing original research, npj Digital Medicine will also publish reviews, perspectives, editorials and commentaries, and the journal will be accompanied by the npj Digital Medicine Community – a free, online forum for researchers, clinicians, engineers and industry leaders to network and collaborate.

“In launching npj Digital Medicine with Nature Research, STSI is aiming to provide a platform for stakeholders within the digital medicine community to present and debate emerging topics and research findings in an academic, evidence-based environment,” Steinhubl said in a statement. “We see this as a service we are able to provide in order to accelerate progress in the field and engage individuals from a broad range of sectors.”

The journal is now open for submissions.