Medical journal

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A public health journal is a scientific journal
Scientific journal
In academic publishing, a scientific journal is a periodical publication intended to further the progress of science, usually by reporting new research. There are thousands of scientific journals in publication, and many more have been published at various points in the past...

 devoted to the field of public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

, including epidemiology
Epidemiology
Epidemiology is the study of health-event, health-characteristic, or health-determinant patterns in a population. It is the cornerstone method of public health research, and helps inform policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive...

, biostatistics
Biostatistics
Biostatistics is the application of statistics to a wide range of topics in biology...

, and health care
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

 (including medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, nursing
Nursing
Nursing is a healthcare profession focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life from conception to death....

 and related fields). Public health journals, like most scientific journals, are peer-reviewed
Peer review
Peer review is a process of self-regulation by a profession or a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards, improve performance and provide credibility...

. Public health journals are commonly published by health organizations and societies, such as the Bulletin of the World Health Organization
Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The Bulletin of the World Health Organization is a monthly public health journal published by the World Health Organization that was established in 1947. It aims to give public health policy and practice guidance based on the best evidence available, while encouraging closer links between...

or the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health is a peer-reviewed public health journal that covers all aspects of epidemiology and public health. It is published by the BMJ Group.- History :...

(published by the British Medical Association
British Medical Association
The British Medical Association is the professional association and registered trade union for doctors in the United Kingdom. The association does not regulate or certify doctors, a responsibility which lies with the General Medical Council. The association’s headquarters are located in BMA House,...

).

The increase in public health research in recent decades has seen a rapid increase in the number of articles and journals. As such, many public health journals have emerged with a specialized focus, such as in the area of policy (e.g. Journal of Public Health Policy
Journal of public health policy
The Journal of Public Health Policy is a peer-reviewed medical journal established in 1980 by Milton Terris. It covers the field of public health and is the official journal of the National Association for Public Health Policy.- Impact factor :...

), a specific region or country of the world (e.g. Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health
Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health
The Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health is a quarterly peer-reviewed public health journal published by SAGE Publications. It was established in 1987 and is the official journal of the Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health. It covers public health related issues, especially as...

, Pan American Journal of Public Health
Pan American Journal of Public Health
The Pan American Journal of Public Health is a peer-reviewed open-access public health journal covering research and case studies on issues of public health significance, mainly in areas related to national and local health systems, to improve the health of the peoples of the Americas...

or Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal
Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal
The Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal is a healthcare journal published by the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office of the World Health Organization. The journal publishes original research in the area of public health and related biomedical or technical subjects, with particular relevance to...

), a specific intervention/practice area (e.g. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention is a peer-reviewed medical journal devoted to research in the field of cancer epidemiology. Topics include descriptive, analytical, biochemical, and molecular epidemiology, the use of biomarkers to study the neoplastic and preneoplastic processes in...

), or other particular focus (e.g. Human Resources for Health
Human Resources for Health
Human Resources for Health is a peer-reviewed, open-access, public health journal publishing original research and case studies on issues of information, planning, production, management, and governance of the health workforce, and their links with health care delivery and health outcomes,...

).

Scope


Public health journals often indicate their target audience as being interdisciplinary, including health care professionals, public health decision-makers and researchers. A main objective is to support evidence-based policy
Evidence-based policy
Evidence-based policy is public policy informed by rigorously established objective evidence. It is an extension of the idea of evidence-based medicine to all areas of public policy...

 and evidence-based practice in public health. In contrast, medical journals (e.g. The Lancet
The Lancet
The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is one of the world's best known, oldest, and most respected general medical journals...

) typically focus on reaching medical professionals as their main audience, although the boundaries between these two categories is increasingly blurry.

It has been argued that some medical and public health journals are "filled with increasingly complex science" which depends upon advanced statistics and research methods that health care providers may have difficulty understanding. In response they have turned towards publishing "articles that are more journalism than science" such as reviews, news, and educational material. However, science is what attracts major attention and leads institutions and libraries to purchase subscriptions.

Review process



For an article to be accepted for publication in a public health or medical journal it must typically undergo a review process. Each journal creates its own process, but they have certain common characteristics in general. There are various general "levels" of scrutiny, which have some effect on the respect given to articles published in the journals. Some broad categories might be editorial review, peer review, and blind peer review. Richard Smith
Richard Smith (editor)
Richard Smith is a British medical doctor, editor, and businessman.He is director of the Ovations initiative to combat chronic disease in the developing world...

, former editor of the British Medical Journal
BMJ
BMJ is a partially open-access peer-reviewed medical journal. Originally called the British Medical Journal, the title was officially shortened to BMJ in 1988. The journal is published by the BMJ Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Medical Association...

, stated in 2006 that studies had found peer review to be ineffective and prone to abuse, but noted that editors consider it invaluable.

Editorial review


In this process, articles which meet the minimum requirements for submission (such as including the necessary descriptions of funding, privacy and publication releases, ethics/institutional review board approval, statements of original work, signatures of authors, and so on,) are first looked over by a managing editor or a member of an editorial board
Editorial board
The editorial board is a group of people, usually at a publication, who dictate the tone and direction the publication's editorial policy will take.- Board makeup :...

. They may be referred back to the authors for revision and resubmission, rejected, or presented to the editorial board for final approval.

Peer review


A more stringent review process includes a full peer review. After first review by a managing editor or member of an editorial board, an article which has good possibilities will be sent out for review by two or more researchers in the specific area. If these reviews are positive the article may be referred back to the authors to address any comments by the reviewers, or (rarely) may be accepted immediately by the editorial board.

Blind review


One common review process is the same as the peer review above, except all references to the authors are removed from the article before review by the researchers.

Content


Most public health journals include various types of content, such as:
  • Editorial
    Editorial
    An opinion piece is an article, published in a newspaper or magazine, that mainly reflects the author's opinion about the subject. Opinion pieces are featured in many periodicals.-Editorials:...

  • Letter to the Editor
    Letter to the editor
    A letter to the editor is a letter sent to a publication about issues of concern from its readers. Usually, letters are intended for publication...

  • Original research
    Research
    Research can be defined as the scientific search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories, usually using a scientific method...

  • Literature review
    Literature review
    A literature review is a body of text that aims to review the critical points of current knowledge including substantive findings as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to a particular topic...

    , systematic review
    Systematic review
    A systematic review is a literature review focused on a research question that tries to identify, appraise, select and synthesize all high quality research evidence relevant to that question. Systematic reviews of high-quality randomized controlled trials are crucial to evidence-based medicine...

     and meta-analysis
    Meta-analysis
    In statistics, a meta-analysis combines the results of several studies that address a set of related research hypotheses. In its simplest form, this is normally by identification of a common measure of effect size, for which a weighted average might be the output of a meta-analyses. Here the...

  • Abstract
    Abstract (summary)
    An abstract is a brief summary of a research article, thesis, review, conference proceeding or any in-depth analysis of a particular subject or discipline, and is often used to help the reader quickly ascertain the paper's purpose. When used, an abstract always appears at the beginning of a...

    s from scientific meetings or other journals
  • Technical notes


Medical journals may also include, for example, case report
Case report
In medicine, a case report is a detailed report of the symptoms, signs, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of an individual patient. Case reports may contain a demographic profile of the patient, but usually describe an unusual or novel occurrence....

s and clinical
Clinical significance
In medicine and psychology, clinical significance refers to either of two related but slightly dissimilar concepts whereby certain findings or differences, even if measurable or statistically confirmed, either may or may not have additional significance, either by being of a magnitude that conveys...

 images of interest. Some online journals are also moving to publishing video content (e.g. Journal of Visualized Experiments
Journal of Visualized Experiments
The Journal of Visualized Experiments is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that was established in December 2006. The editor-in-chief is Moshe Pritsker, who is also the CEO and co-founder. The focus of the journal is publishing biological research in video format...

).

Internet and open access



By the early 21st century, most public health and medical journals were available online, thus increasing their accessibility worldwide. There is a general move from print as primary medium to electronic publication, an example being the online journals published by BioMed Central
BioMed Central
BioMed Central is a UK-based, for-profit scientific publisher specialising in open access journal publication. BMC, and its sister companies Chemistry Central and PhysMath Central, publish over 200 scientific journals. Most BMC journals are now published only online. BMC describes itself as the...

.

With the advent of online publication, some health journals are transforming from traditional subscription-based and pay-per-view access to open access for some or all of their content.

Impact factor



Like other scientific journals, many public health journals are ranked with an impact factor
Impact factor
The impact factor, often abbreviated IF, is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to articles published in science and social science journals. It is frequently used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field, with journals with higher impact factors deemed...

, linked to the probability of an article published in that journal being cited. It is currently accepted that a higher impact factor indicates a better journal quality, at least in some health disciplines.

Journals with high impact factors according to the Journal Citation Reports
Journal Citation Reports
Journal Citation Reports is an annual publication by the Healthcare & Science division of Thomson Reuters. It has been integrated with the Web of Knowledge, by Thomson Reuters, and is accessed from the Web of Science to JCR Web. It provides information about academic journals in the sciences and...

 in the category "Public, Environmental and Occupational Health" include: Environmental Health Perspectives
Environmental Health Perspectives
Environmental Health Perspectives is a peer-reviewed open-access medical journal published monthly by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2009 impact factor of 6.191....

, American Journal of Epidemiology
American Journal of Epidemiology
The American Journal of Epidemiology is a peer reviewed journal for empirical research findings, opinion pieces and methodological developments in the field of epidemiological research. It is published semimonthly, and has an impact of 5.454, ranking it 6th out of 105 Journals in the field....

, Annual Review of Public Health, Genetic Epidemiology, Epidemiologic Reviews, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention is a peer-reviewed medical journal devoted to research in the field of cancer epidemiology. Topics include descriptive, analytical, biochemical, and molecular epidemiology, the use of biomarkers to study the neoplastic and preneoplastic processes in...

, International Journal of Epidemiology
International Journal of Epidemiology
The International Journal of Epidemiology is a bimonthly peer-reviewed medical journal covering research in epidemiology. It is the official journal of the International Epidemiological Association. The journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics....

, Epidemiology
Epidemiology (journal)
EPIDEMIOLOGY is a bi-monthly, peer-reviewed journal for epidemiologic research, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.The journal publishes original research from all fields of epidemiology, as well as review articles, meta-analyses, novel hypotheses, descriptions and applications of new...

, Bulletin of the World Health Organization
Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The Bulletin of the World Health Organization is a monthly public health journal published by the World Health Organization that was established in 1947. It aims to give public health policy and practice guidance based on the best evidence available, while encouraging closer links between...

and American Journal of Public Health
American Journal of Public Health
The American Journal of Public Health is a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Public Health Association covering health policy and public health. The journal was established in 1911 and its stated mission is "to advance public health research, policy, practice, and...

. In addition, given their interdisciplinary nature, some journals with a public health focus may be found in other categories. For example, Human Resources for Health
Human Resources for Health
Human Resources for Health is a peer-reviewed, open-access, public health journal publishing original research and case studies on issues of information, planning, production, management, and governance of the health workforce, and their links with health care delivery and health outcomes,...

is placed in the category "industrial relations and labor", where it was ranked 3rd in 2010.

See also

  • Biomedical research
    Biomedical research
    Biomedical research , in general simply known as medical research, is the basic research, applied research, or translational research conducted to aid and support the body of knowledge in the field of medicine...

  • Health services research
    Health services research
    Health services research is a multidisciplinary scientific field that examines how people get access to health care practitioners and health care services, how much care costs, and what happens to patients as a result of this care...

  • List of medical journals
    • BioMed Central series of journals
      BMC journals
      The BMC-series of journals are a collection of over 100 online research journals published by BioMed Central. Like all BioMed Central journals, they have a policy of open access to the research articles they publish. Between them, they cover all major subject areas within biology and medicine...

  • List of nursing journals
  • Medical literature
    Medical literature
    Medical literature refers to articles in journals and texts in books devoted to the field of medicine.Contemporary and historic views regarding diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of medical conditions have been documented for thousands of years. The Edwin Smith papyrus is the first known medical...

  • National public health institutes
    National public health institutes
    National public health institutes are science-based governmental organizations that serve as a focal point for a country's public health efforts, as well as a critical component of global disease prevention and response systems...