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Title: The journals of importance to UK clinicians: a questionnaire survey
Authors: Jones, TH
Hanney, S
Buxton, MJ
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: BioMed Central
Citation: BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 6(24): 1-9, Jun 2006
Abstract: Background: Peer-reviewed journals are seen as a major vehicle in the transmission of research findings to clinicians. Perspectives on the importance of individual journals vary and the use of impact factors to assess research is criticised. Other surveys of clinicians suggest a few key journals within a specialty, and sub-specialties, are widely read. Journals with high impact factors are not always widely read or perceived as important. In order to determine whether UK surgeons consider peer-reviewed journals to be important information sources and which journals they read and consider important to inform their clinical practice, we conducted a postal questionnaire survey and then compared the findings with those from a survey of US surgeons. Methods: A questionnaire survey sent to 2,660 UK surgeons asked which information sources they considered to be important and which peer-reviewed journals they read, and perceived as important, to inform their clinical practice. Comparisons were made with numbers of UK NHSfunded surgery publications, journal impact factors and other similar surveys. Results: Peer-reviewed journals were considered to be the second most important information source for UK surgeons. A mode of four journals read was found with academics reading more than non-academics. Two journals, the BMJ and the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, are prominent across all sub-specialties and others within sub-specialties. The British Journal of Surgery plays a key role within three sub-specialties. UK journals are generally preferred and readership patterns are influenced by membership journals. Some of the journals viewed by surgeons as being most important, for example the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, do not have high impact factors. Conclusion: Combining the findings from this study with comparable studies highlights the importance of national journals and of membership journals. Our study also illustrates the complexity of the link between the impact factors of journals and the importance of the journals to clinicians. This analysis potentially provides an additional basis on which to assess the role of different journals, and the published output from research.
Appears in Collections:Community Health and Public Health
Health Economics Research Group (HERG)

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