Author Affiliations: Dr Winker is Deputy Editor and Dr Fontanarosa is Interim Coeditor, JAMA.
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.
Winker MA, Fontanarosa PB. Letters: A Forum for Scientific
Discourse. JAMA. 1999;281(16):1543. doi:10.1001/jama.281.16.1543