Virtual slides in peer reviewed, open access medical publication
1 Institute of Pathology, Charite, Berlin, Germany
2 IAT, Heidelberg, Germany
3 Clinical and Experimental Pathology, Research Center Borstel, Borstel, Germany
4 Institute of Pathology, University Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
Diagnostic Pathology 2011, 6:124 doi:10.1186/1746-1596-6-124Published: 19 December 2011
Application of virtual slides (VS), the digitalization of complete glass slides, is in its infancy to be implemented in routine diagnostic surgical pathology and to issues that are related to tissue-based diagnosis, such as education and scientific publication.
Electronic publication in Pathology offers new features of scientific communication in pathology that cannot be obtained by conventional paper based journals. Most of these features are based upon completely open or partly directed interaction between the reader and the system that distributes the article. One of these interactions can be applied to microscopic images allowing the reader to navigate and magnify the presented images. VS and interactive Virtual Microscopy (VM) are a tool to increase the scientific value of microscopic images.
Technology and Performance
The open access journal Diagnostic Pathology http://www.diagnosticpathology.org webcite has existed for about five years. It is a peer reviewed journal that publishes all types of scientific contributions, including original scientific work, case reports and review articles. In addition to digitized still images the authors of appropriate articles are requested to submit the underlying glass slides to an institution (DiagnomX.eu, and Leica.com) for digitalization and documentation. The images are stored in a separate image data bank which is adequately linked to the article. The normal review process is not involved. Both processes (peer review and VS acquisition) are performed contemporaneously in order to minimize a potential publication delay. VS are not provided with a DOI index (digital object identifier). The first articles that include VS were published in March 2011.
Results and Perspectives
Several logistic constraints had to be overcome until the first articles including VS could be published. Step by step an automated acquisition and distribution system had to be implemented to the corresponding article. The acceptance of VS by the reader is high as well as by the authors. Of specific value are the increased confidence to and reputation of authors as well as the presented information to the reader. Additional associated functions such as access to author-owned related image collections, reader-controlled automated image measurements and image transformations are in preparation.
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/1232133347629819 webcite.