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JAMA 100 Years Ago
November 10, 1999


Author Affiliations

JenniferReiling, Editorial Assistant

JAMA. 1999;282(18):1700L. doi:10.1001/jama.282.18.1700L-JJY90036-2-1

November 18, 1899

A few medical writers are victims of a reprehensible habit that is not pleasant to contemplate, viz.: the habit of reading the same paper before two or more different societies. When discovered by the profession, as they all are sooner or later, a variety of reasons for their actions occurs to their critics. It is frequently said of them that, being unable to write with ease, they must make one production go as far as possible. This is the most charitable view, even though it involves the inference that only the vain desire for personal advertisement could lead them to risk the affront to an audience that should discover it was being served cold victuals instead of the expected warm sustenance. . . . Of many it is said that they are too indolent to write more than one paper at long intervals, and at the same time too desirous of notoriety to refuse an invitation to read a paper before a society, even though they risk offending their audiences by presenting stale matter. The implied affront to the second and subsequent audiences seems to be entirely overlooked by these gentlemen. . . . It is a very different affair when a society requests an author to repeat a paper before a different audience from that which first heard it. That is a high compliment to the author, and it is perfectly proper to reread one under such circumstances. For those who are not thus importuned, the far better course is to refuse all invitations that can not be accepted with an entirely original and new article. Medical editors would rejoice at the accomplishment of this little reform, medical authors would not so often be charged with reading papers for mere self-advertisement, and medical science could hold its head just a little higher before the world of science and letters.