Seeking Solutions to Childhood Obesity - Fast-Tracking New Ideas

Employing an open-innovation approach to develop a new model for academic publishing

Dates of Project: December 2011 to July 2013

Description: A team associated with the American Journal of Preventive Medicine expanded that journal’s publishing process to include submissions by authors both inside and outside academia who were encouraged to submit proposed solutions to an important public health problem—using a variety of media. The focus was on encouraging submission of ideas that may or may not be currently in use or incubated in multiyear studies—ideas at an earlier stage of development than ideas evaluated in a traditional randomized control trial.

The team sponsored an idea competition for solutions to childhood obesity to test this new model for peer-review publishing.

Key Results

  • To solicit and publish innovative solutions to childhood obesity, the project team developed and launched a Web-based challenge platform that supported an idea competition named the Childhood Obesity Challenge.

  • The Childhood Obesity Challenge attracted 166 submissions and the peer-review panels identified 10 winning entries.

  • An overwhelming majority of the submissions (75%) came from authors outside academia, thereby expanding the American Journal of Preventive Medicine’s base of contributors.

  • Winners of the challenge offered a variety of solutions to childhood obesity including games, apps, large-scale community-wide programs, and model ordinances and policies.

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The Childhood Obesity Challenge attracted 166 submissions; peer-review panels identified 10 winning entries