The Oxford Medical School Gazette (OMSG) is a publication prepared by students at Oxford Medical School. We aim to release three editions per year, each with a central theme. Typically, the articles we publish focus on current debates or topics of interest in the world of medical science. That includes, but is not limited to, ethical dilemmas, original takes on clinical or preclinical research, and reflections on politics, medical education, and the future of healthcare.
Many of the articles we publish are written by current students. However, we encourage contributions from anyone with a point to make. If you would like to write for the OMSG, have a look at the current theme here and email the editors with your idea.
The idea for the Gazette was hatched in 1947 by a small group of impoverished medical students led by Geoffrey Smeardon. After obtaining sponsorship from the Oxford Brewery and using funds from their own ex-service grants, they scraped together enough money to produce the first edition in 1949 and the Gazette never looked back. It has been in continuous publication since then, making it the oldest medical student journal in the world.
You only need to look through the archives to see how the Gazette has changed since then. It has moved from A5 to A4 size, now has print runs of over 1100, dropped from a termly to a biannual printing (and back again), among many other things. Its content has also fluctuated over the years, but essentially it now covers all aspects of medical life: from scientific review, opinion, comment and discussion, to comedy, profiles, crosswords and everything in between.
From 2008 to 2010 the Gazette underwent some major changes. Since 2009, the publication has been entirely designed by an in-house team, previously a job of the Medical Informatics Unit (MIU). This has led to a much-increased workload, but far more freedom to shape the magazine. As of 2010, the Gazette also moved offices to Osler House.
The direction the Gazette should take is hard to judge. We cater to such a wide variety of readers (from school students to alumni) that it is tough to know where to aim the articles, what angle to take, and how risqué to go. The direction, and having a coherent vision of what the Gazette is actually supposed to do, has been an age-old problem.
In the beginning the Gazette was small, termly, and filled with very scientific - almost journal style - medical pieces. It also had a fair amount of JR-related material and a bit of comedy. Over time it has gradually become less scientific, making it more accessible, as if catering to a less medically minded audience. It is also less Oxford-specific, perhaps due to this wider audience. By late 2009 there was little pure scientific content and much more comment and general review pieces. The value of this is that it appeals to a broader audience and allows a wide range of material. However, the Gazette lost some of its clout; it was more Vogue, less Lancet.
The 2010-11 Editorial team, consisting of Jack Pottle, Matt Harris and Namrata Turaga, decided to encourage more contentious articles. Articles and opinion pieces on topics including Gaza, abortion and AIDS made a come back, as did 'heavy science', with the introduction of a peer-review section. They also created the 'back page' format (no, not that kind of back page...) including book reviews and a cryptic crossword, a feature that has been kept to this day.
Caroline Pendleton and Jack Carruthers then took up the mantle in 2012. This duo were responsible for further improving on the exceptional design standard, as well as creating a formal subscriber database and mailing list, turning the Gazette from a student-run venture to a worldwide, reputable magazine. They also introduced the Frith Photography Prize, sponsored by the Oxford University Press, with an exhibition held in the John Radcliffe Academic Centre. Abhi Ghosh, another clinical student at the time, took responsibility for design; his incredible artistic talent set a high standard for Gazettes to come.
In 2013-14, Joshua Luck and Barney Gilbert took the Gazette to new heights. Not only did they continue improving the subscriber database, but they renovated the old website, created the OMSG Essay Competition aimed at secondary school students interested in medicine, and even tried to get PubMed approval for the Peer Review section. At the end of their tenure, they were shortlisted for the Guardian Student Media Awards' Student Publication of the Year.
Nicola Kelly and Amrit Gosal, with the help of Fine Art student Evie Kitt, created a trio of absolutely stunning Gazettes. They introduced a News section, compiled by Lizzie Whatling, and decided to cut the Peer Review section so that the OMSG could return to its place as a journal publishing popular medical science articles. Their hard work also led to a second year of the Gazette being shortlisted at the Guardian Student Media Awards'.
In 2015-16, Edward Matthews and Claudia Snudden took over, recruiting Fine Art student Hana-Mai Hawkins to design. They continued with the News section, headed by Charlie Coughlan, and continued with both the Frith Photography Prize and Student Essay Competition. As a team, they did an incredible amount behind the scenes, restructuring the Gazette finance (taking our subscriptions online) and opening the OMSG up to schools around the country.
In late 2016, Philly Lip and Giles Neal became Editors. During this period, issues with the Gazette finance and offices arose, meaning that unfortunately only one edition was published in 2017. We were helped greatly by Hana-Mai Hawkins, who stayed on as our design guru. After graduating, Philly has gone on to a successful career in London.
Giles and Philly's tenure ended with the appointment of Sam Breen and Dan Murphy as Editors. As of the beginning of 2019, the Gazette had been functionally out of print since the last issue in 2017. We made it our mission to overhaul the design of the Gazette. We hoped for a more approachable and tactile publication; something not afraid to get coffee-stained in the doctors' mess or crumpled up in a student's backpack. Our first issue, 67(1), was published in May 2019 to excellent feedback. We are continuing our work and aiming to have 67(2) published by September.
Unfortunately, the dry printing spell led to the dilapidation of our subscriber database. A current high-priority project is to cross-reference our database with those still making subscriber payments via PayPal or postal order, and to ensure they receive their copies of the Gazette as soon as possible. If you think this may be affecting you, please get in touch via email: email@example.com.