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It is time to replace publish or perish with get visible or vanish: opportunities where digital and social media can reshape knowledge translation
  1. Christian J Barton1,
  2. Mark A Merolli2,3
  1. 1 La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 School of Health Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3 Health and Biomedical Informatics Centre, Melbourne Medical School, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christian J Barton, Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria 3086, Australia; christian{at}

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Knowledge translation (KT) is defined as ‘the synthesis, exchange and application of knowledge by relevant stakeholders to accelerate the benefits of global and local innovation in strengthening health systems and improving people’s health’.1 We acknowledge the growing number of theories, models and frameworks to guide researchers and policy makers on all the complexities of KT.2 The aim of this analysis is to discuss how journal publishers, researchers and health professionals can use digital innovation (ie, application of new technologies to existing practices and problems) to reshape the KT path in healthcare. 

Digital innovation

The application of new technologies to existing practices and problems (eg, using digital social media to facilitate knowledge translation).

We will outline (1) how digital innovation has already changed journal publishing, (2) the current digital and social media landscape with its limitations and (3) highlight opportunities to reshape the KT path in a rapidly evolving area. We intend to guide journal publishers, researchers and other stakeholders to help ensure they do not become irrelevant in the face of digital innovation.

The lead author of this review recently summarised the 300-year-old traditional academic journal publishing process into two broad steps—(1) research completion and (2) journal publication.3 These two steps do not adequately facilitate KT in any discipline. Therefore, he proposed two novel steps to improve efficiency and reach by embracing digital innovation: (3) multimedia creation and (4) social media dissemination (see figure 1).3 These digital innovations are not the sole answer to bridging the current evidence practice gap.4 5 However, based on our analysis, we believe digital innovation has been underused in KT, especially when compared with mainstream media. Of note, a number of media organisations have failed or drastically downsized in the past few years. Our ‘call to action’ to journal publishers and …

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  • Contributors All authors have contributed to drafting and finalising this education review.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.