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July 14, 1975

The Freedom of Medical Information

Author Affiliations

Editor in Chief Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease Baltimore
From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.

JAMA. 1975;233(2):145-146. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260020031018

PHYSICIANS are dependent for the effective accomplishment of their tasks on a continued flow of technical information. As a rule, access to this information, as well as the freedom to generate and transmit it, has been taken for granted. This has been true, as well, for the editors who act as gatekeepers, ie, who can limit the access of authors to medical and scientific journals.

More recently, however, investigators and editors, as well as practicing clinicians, have become sensitive to the complexity of the problem in an information-oriented society. This follows to an important degree the public's growing concern about who "owns" scientific or medical information, and who has the right to know, ie, have access to true propositions about the real world (including at times their own medical records) that are necessary for action, for personal autonomy, or even for effecting certain kinds of social change.

Ethical Problems  The