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April 7, 1969


JAMA. 1969;208(1):141. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160010137022

In 1967-1968 we published in The Journal a series of 25 essays on medical writing. Because we intended to gather them together in a book (which has now appeared1), each of the separate articles, when initially printed, carried the footnote "Reprints are not available." And yet the number of reprint requests that we received was quite astounding. Of the many possible interpretations of this phenomenon, the most obvious is that a lot of people do not read footnotes.

What is the readership of any particular part of The Journal? How many people read what in JAMA? We have no answer to this question, but we did receive a small gleam of oblique illumination out of the recent editorial on eponyms (JAMA207: 1142 [Feb 10] 1969). In the course of that editorial we mentioned three eponyms, two of them extremely "far out" and one, Kartagener's syndrome, not too recondite.