If you have an iPad, you may already know about Newsstand. It’s an app that corrals all your subscription apps for reading, like The New York Times or Newsweek, into one place, with an interface that looks much like the iBooks virtual library shelves.
There have been quite a few mainstream publications available in Newsstand, but not much in the more focused specialty realm. Until now. The first peer-reviewed journal to make it to the virtual shelves is the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and its arrival there is warming the cockles of the hearts of people who like to read health news in all its jargon-y glory.
This is health communication at its most academic, but as more and more lay people look for health information online–and more and more folks learn how to navigate the complex language on PubMed and in the abstracts of medical journals–it could be an important step. At the very least, the fact that a major consumer technology device is considered an important place to be seen by a publication that was once satisfied with residing on the desks of physicians and researchers would seem to signal a shift: peer-reviewed articles are garnering broader audiences, and making this kind of communication easier to find and view is likely to broaden those audiences even more.