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May 1982

Free Medical Publications or Scientific Medical Journals?

Arch Intern Med. 1982;142(5):873-874. doi:10.1001/archinte.1982.00340180031006

The three physician-editors of the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) resigned a few months ago over the issue of editorial freedom. The Lancet reports that the appointment of a lay publishing manager, who was given ultimate authority for the contents of the journal, created an intolerable situation for the medical editors. Apparently, this radical administrative move was effected in an effort to increase income from advertising. Pharmaceutical advertising has been inadequate for the needs of the journal, and the staff correspondent of The Lancet notes that one of the reasons was successful competition for large slices of the cake from so-called free medical publications. These periodicals are extremely well produced and illustrated, easy to read, and buttressed by an impressive list of editorial consultants. On the debit side, they publish no original research, have no correspondence columns in which dissenting views can be expressed, discourage critical reading, and inhibit

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