There are an awful lot of journals aimed at practicing clinicians. Most of the output is junk!

BMJ Updates tries to overcome this problem and does a great job. As the blurb on the site says:

“all citations (from over 110 premier clinical journals) are pre-rated for quality by research staff, then rated for clinical relevance and interest by at least 3 members of a worldwide panel of practicing physicians.”

In a nutshell they have a least 3 people review every article in the 110 journals to decide whether or not they are clinically relevent or newsworthy – as well as being methodologically sound. They root out around 90% of all articles – so only the top 10% of articles are considered appropriate for inclusion BMJ Updates.

As mentioned above I really rate BMJ Updates, it’s superb. But surely the issue is that 90% of the initial articles going into these journals are not really clinically worthy/useful. In addition, or instead of, why aren’t all articles pre-critically appraised before inclusion; why aren’t they assessed for clinical worth?

I suppose the obvious answer is that if 90% of articles are removed – as they’re junk – from a monthly publication, you go from 12 issues a year to 1.2 issues. Therefore, making it uneconomically viable. Who controls the journals and, to a large extent, are agenda setters – journal editors. So, to make a significant change from the journals, we’re asking turkeys to vote for Christmas.

I suppose academia is also ‘guility’. All those RAE points that are needed can only help contribute to quantity not quality.

Why not have journals that only publish documents that meet certain quality criteria, come pre-critically appraised and are clinically useful? I have a feeling I’m exposing my niavity!