Yesterday I stumbled across a paper for which I had no choice but to cover. Absolutely no choice, given the oddity and novelty and, not to put a too fine point on it… uniqueness of it. Because, I have to tell you, I haven’t seen a more bizarre author affiliation in an academic journal for a scholar paper.
It’s not a fundamental research paper, but a review. It’s not exactly a regular science paper either, it’s more of a policy paper. Nevertheless, it has a rationale, sets objectives, analyzes the available evidence, draws conclusions upon observed data, and ends up with the all-too-familiar section of future directions. It even has acknowledgments and a regular size reference section. It was pre-published 4 days ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and in this short interval has gained a whooping 6480 Altmetric score (meaning thousands of media outlets are talking about it) and over half million views, despite the fact that it has not been peer-reviewed (but it was fact-checked for 2 months).
The paper analyzes data spanning more than 50 years (from 1963 to 2016) regarding the healthcare in United States of America. The author claims that the data show that the Affordable Care Act, a major health reform passed on March 23, 2010 in USA, has led to, among other things, a dramatic decrease in the number of uninsured individuals. The paper finishes by outlining several issues that the policy makers face in the future.
So what makes it so special? The author, ladies and gentleman, is none other then the President of the United States, Barack Obama. Thus becoming the first president that published an academic paper in a scientific journal. There were previous commentaries or speeches published in scientific journals by other presidents, but this is the first scholarly paper done by a sitting President, as far as I know. Please do check out the pictures below (which are copyrighted to JAMA, by the way). I wonder if I call or write to the corresponding author I get to correspond… with the corresponding author or the Press Office…
Reference: Obama, B [Epub July 2016]. United States Health Care Reform: Progress to Date and Next Steps. JAMA. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.9797. ARTICLE | FREE FULLTEXT PDF (press the PDF button on the upper right on the JAMA page | Conflict of Interest Disclosures
By Neuronicus, 15 July 2016