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JAMA 100 Years Ago
February 12, 2003


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(6):778. doi:10.1001/jama.289.6.778-a

There is an unfortunate practice—we do not know how far it is unavoidable—of certain medical journals appearing later than their advertised time and yet having nothing on their pages to show the exact date of appearance. We have in mind one otherwise excellent journal which habitually appears about three months late, the October number usually appearing in January, and so on throughout the year. This is, in one sense of the word, an imposition on its readers, and is more important when one comes to consult files of some years back. For instance, if a journal has an article giving an account of something new, some new discovery of importance, very serious questions of priority might arise, and unless the fact of the delayed appearance were generally known, injustice be done. An article published in a journal dated three months or even one month earlier than its actual appearance might get the credit of priority undeservedly. Such things have happened in the past, and are of more serious consequence than perhaps at first appears. Another questionable procedure is that of certain high-class publications which appear more or less irregularly and do not have the exact date of their appearance anywhere in their pages. A reform in this matter would also be advisable.