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March 30, 1979

Journals in Jeopardy

Author Affiliations

University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio

JAMA. 1979;241(13):1327. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290390015015

To the Editor.—  Is it possible that the government senses an undercurrent of discontent that physicians have with scientific journals? Will journals continue to be "the principal medium for conversation between scientists," as stated in an editorial by William R. Barclay, MD (241:56, 1979), in The Journal? There is no doubt that journals are facing uncontrolled inflation, but journal readers are facing an even greater problem. In the period from 1960 through 1977, the number of physicians in the United States increased approximately 60%; however, Index Medicus subject headings increased in volume by 178%, and author headings increased by 177% (comparison of editions from 1960 vs 1977). The size of the journal Cancer has expanded 380% during this same period (comparison of volumes 13,1960 vs 39 and 40, 1977). Academic physicians are said to be under pressure from their parent institutions to publish or perish; thus, the New England Journal