Policies, practices, and attitudes of north american medical journal editors

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63 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To describe U.S. and Canadian medical journals, their editors, and policies that affect the dissemination of medical information. DESIGN: Mailed survey. PARTICIPANTS: Senior editors of all 269 leading medical journals published at least quarterly in the United States and Canada, of whom 221 (82%) responded. MAIN MEASURES: The questionnaire asked about characteristics of journal editors and their journals and about journals' policies toward peer review, conflicts of interest, pre-publication discussions with the press, and pharmaceutical advertisements. RESULTS: The editors were overwhelmingly men (96%), middle-aged (mean age 61 years), and trained as physicians (82%). Although 98% claimed that their journals were "peer-reviewed," the editors differed in how they defined a "peer" and in the number of peers they deemed optimal for review. Sixty-three percent thought journals should check on reviewers' potential conflicts of interest, but only a minority supported masking authors' names and affiliations (46%), checking reviewers' financial conflicts of interest (40%), or revealing reviewers' names to authors (8%). The respondents advocated discussion of scientific findings with the press (84%), but only in accord with the Ingelfinger rule, i.e., after publication of the article (77%). Fifty-seven percent of the editors agreed that journals have a responsibility to ensure the truthfulness of pharmaceutical advertisements, and 40% favored subjecting advertisements to the same rigorous peer review as scientific articles. CONCLUSIONS: The responding editors were relatively homogeneous demographically and professionally, and they tended to support the editorial status quo. There was little sentiment in favor of tampering with the current peer-review system (however defined) or the Ingelfinger rule, but a surprisingly large percentage of the respondents favored more stringent review of drug advertisements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-450
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Volume10
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1995

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Keywords

  • editors
  • information dissemination
  • medical journals
  • peer review
  • pharmaceutical advertisements
  • publishing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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