Three well-known experts in rheumatology have launched their comprehensive textbook of the specialty online for free. The 2015 edition of Rheumaknowledgy (www.rheumaknowledgy.com) is completely open-access and available without registration or charge of any sort.
Asked about the motivation for posting the entire content of the textbook on the Internet, gratis, John Cush MD replied: "Education is changing. Most students and trainees don't buy the big (or small) textbooks and prefer to use online, accessible sources of learning. When we aquired the publishing rights from the publisher of our first two editions, we set out to develop a free and online version of our rheumatology textbook. We renamed the textbook ... and gave it a dedicated website."
"There is no advertising or funding for this," he added in an email. "I have paid for it all."
The three authors are all professors of medicine at their respective institutions: Baylor, University of California-San Diego (UCSD), and Vanderbilt.
Cush, who is director of rheumatology for the Baylor Research Institute, is well known to attendees at the American College of Rheumatology's annual meetings for his jocular wrap-up sessions.
These are usually co-hosted with his Rheumaknowledgy coauthor Arthur Kavanagh MD, who is director of the Center for Innovative Therapy in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology at UCSD.
The third author of Rheumaknowledgy is C. Michael Stein MD, associate director of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
An earlier edition of the book was published as Rheumatology: Diagnosis & Therapeutics by Lippincott, Williams * Wilkins. It is still available online (new) from Barnes & Noble for $83.65.
Rheumaknowledgy is presented in 3 sections: clinical information including diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic conditions, tests and procedures, and drugs.
"We are still updating some chapters," Cush said. When that's done, they plan to offer a free mobile app (although Cush said the site is already optimized for both desktop and mobile devices). Each chapter will be reviewed annually, he added, but updated "on the fly," whenever there is a new and important advance.
These should not be too difficult to identify. Cush is also familiar to rheumatologists on Twitter for @RheumNow, his regularly updated and remarkably concise (140-character) alerts to revelations from the rheumatology literature.