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Editorial
December 13, 2000

THE JOURNAL's Policy Regarding Release of Information to the Public

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Dr Fontanarosa is Executive Deputy Editor, Ms Flanagin is Managing Senior Editor, and Dr DeAngelis is Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2000;284(22):2929-2931. doi:10.1001/jama.284.22.2929

The public is interested in health information, and the public news media try to provide it as quickly as possible. Peer-reviewed, primary-source medical journals, however, consider original articles only if they have not been published previously. Thus, a conflict sometimes exists between the representatives of the news media and editors of medical journals who prefer to disseminate complete reports of medical information after validation through peer review.24 All concerned want medical information to be as accurate as possible. Medical editors rely on rigorous peer review to evaluate such accuracy prior to accepting papers for publication, and clinicians rely on journal publication to provide complete reports of validated information they can assess and explain to patients. Editors of JAMA consider scientific and clinical reports (ie, submitted manuscripts) individually, first, to evaluate the quality of these reports and to decide whether to accept them for publication and, second, to appraise the need for and the timing of the dissemination of medical information contained in these reports through the appropriate media at the earliest possible time. With few exceptions as described below, this dissemination should coincide with publication in THE JOURNAL.

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