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April 28, 1999

Letters: A Forum for Scientific Discourse

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Dr Winker is Deputy Editor and Dr Fontanarosa is Interim Coeditor, JAMA.

JAMA. 1999;281(16):1543. doi:10.1001/jama.281.16.1543

Scientific discourse occurs in many forms: among colleagues, at scientific meetings, during peer review, and after publication. Such discourse is essential to interpreting studies and guiding future research. However, most forms of discourse become part of the scientific record only indirectly, such as through revision of a manuscript in response to peer review or through the influence of colleagues' comments on the author. Only 1 form of discourse—letters—becomes part of the permanent biomedical record, linked with the scientific article through its citation in databases such as MEDLINE.

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