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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

versão impressa ISSN 0034-7450

rev.colomb.psiquiatr. v.40 n.1 Bogotá jan./mar. 2011




Information, Knowledge and People

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
¿Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
Thomas Stearns Eliot, The Choruses of the Rock

Our generation has witnessed the dramatic changes brought about by the introduction of Internet into the world. The possibility of having information and of finding it over this network has happened suddenly, sometimes more quickly than we would have liked. This situation has forced us to change and to adapt quickly. An example of its influence on psychiatry is evident when we remember the 1980s or before when we had to turn to the famous Index Medicus to find articles that would help us answer any questions we may have had, as well as the costs involved whenever we wanted to bring an article in from overseas. At the time, out every 100 pre-selected articles, between 3 and 10 reached Colombia, if things were going well. Later on, in the nineties, we started using the Internet in our daily work. Towards 1994 we taught the first courses on how to find medical literature on-line which, it must be said, were incredibly successful.. At that time we could find between 30 and 50 of every 100 pre-selected articles on MedLine or another database. Today we can perform that same search at home by connecting to databases or libraries that can offer us that option. Recently I managed to collect 94 out of 100 articles I required for some work I was doing. Likewise, many of these articles can be found for free.

The penetration of other search engines like Google, Yahoo and others within the field of medicine is notable, as well as other more traditional databases, like MedLine, PubMed, Embase, SciELO and Cochranne, an even some commercial ones, like OVID, Elsevire and EBSCO. On the internet we can find an infinite number of articles, books, conferences and films which, alongside the aforementioned databases, provide a lot of information; some good, some average and, finally some which, as well as pretentious, leaves a lot to be desired scientifically. Once we have this information, it's up to us to classify and critically analyze everything we're offered, and to try to act academically and objectively when selecting one article or the other.

With regard to this, at the Colombian Psychiatric Association (ACP), with our representatives on the Board of Directors and the Publishing

Committee, we must be extremely careful with what we say over any of our means of communication. This information must be precise, truthful, objective and timely. We must also avoid offering partial or mistaken information, or information without all the necessary supporting elements. Especially when this information could harm a person or the interests of a third party.

At the Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatria (Colombian Psychiatric Journal) and at the Cuadernos Enlace (Enlace Notebooks) we have the privilege of having academic peers and, usually, of having enough time to analyze the articles that will be published. However, information is produced much more quickly on the website and, given its informative and journalistic nature, is at greater risk of containing mistakes. Therefore, we must be much more careful when we evaluate what is going to be published. If the things we want to publish on the website are scientific in nature—for example: new discoveries, adverse effects, a journal report-, we must always analyze these objectively, using many of the recommendations given by evidence-based medicine. If we don't do this, we may be misguiding our readers, offering inadequate information and, at times, favoring third-party interests.

On the other hand, when we reproduce an article from the media (non-scientific newspaper or magazine), we have a duty to protect those that may be involved and in no event should we reproduce texts that harm a person's good name. More so when we know people who have had an important and impeccable career, like Dr. Luz Janeth Forero, former director of the Legal Medicine and Forensic Science Institute, about whom an article, originally published in the El Heraldo newspaper, was unfortunately reproduced on our web page and which refers to her mistakenly in derogatory, untruthful and disobliging terms.

Finally, we feel that our Board of Directors, headed by Dr. Bornacelli, and our means of communication, headed up by Drs. Rafael Vasquez (website), Carlos Cardeho (Cuadernos de Enlace) and Carlos Gómez-Restrepo (Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatria and Publishing Committee) Comité de Publicaciones), should ensure that we publish the best information—information that provides real knowledge—and that we avoid, above all, bringing unjustified harm to any person.

Carlos Gómez-Restrepo
Director-Editor Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatria
(Colombian Psychiatric Journal)

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