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Journals Are Also for Readers

Alfred Soffer, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1976;136(7):755. doi:10.1001/archinte.1976.03630070003003.
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How can we transfer medical research results into clinical practice? This challenge was directed to a panel of editors recently convened at the National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Md (Cardiopul Med 15:13, 1976). Dr Harold Schoolman, deputy director of the library, noted that the tremendous mass of information that is pouring into libraries requires that the data base be synthesized into a more formal, effective and efficient format. An unhappy corollary of this admonition was the thesis that medical journals as presently constituted have not adequately fulfilled the role of providing practical guidance for the clinician.

Have medical periodicals indeed abandoned the constituency of practitioners? Several panelists insisted that specialty journals primarily are serving investigators' gratifications. There has, of course, been an enormous increase in biomedical research in the past two decades. This has resulted in a dramatic alteration in the ratio between articles that recount "bedside" experiences and reports


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