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Early Clinical Trials E-Journal Makes a Comeback

After a 20-year hiatus, the Online Journal of Current Clinical Trials is once again available to the public.

In 1992, a collaborative effort between the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) produced the Online Journal of Current Clinical Trials (OJCCT), one of the earliest completely electronic scientific journals. However, the idea of an e-journal seemed too “new” for its time and the OJCCT was sold and ultimately acquired by academic publisher Taylor & Francis. While the articles were indexed in online libraries, such as MEDLINE, they were no longer available.

Kay Dickersin, PhD, professor in the Department of Epidemiology and former associate editor of the OJCCT, reached out to the JHU Sheridan Libraries to assist with recovering the lost journal articles and making them available to the public. Some of the early clinical trials covered in the OJCCT included mammography, in vitro fertilization, angiography/angioplasty, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS, among others. The OJCCT also published some classic studies about research methodology (e.g., publication bias, metabias) that were previously inaccessible.

In late March 2018, the community-supported digital archive Portico was granted the rights from Taylor & Francis to preserve the OJCCT and make it available through free, open access.
“Many of the articles published in the OJCCT were groundbreaking clinical trials and studies of methodology that were almost lost to history,” Dickersin said. “It’s wonderful that these articles can now be accessed by the next generation of researchers.”

More than 50 of the 80+ OJCCT articles have been located and made available for access and review. If you know of or have access to any of the missing articles, contact Portico.