Davis RM, Mullner M. "Editorial independence at medical journals owned by professional associations: A survey of editors" Science & Engineering Ethics 8(4):513-528, October 2002

Eugene Garfield garfield at CODEX.CIS.UPENN.EDU
Tue Jan 14 15:30:31 EST 2003

R.M. Davis : rdavis1 at hfhs.org
M. Mullner : marcus.muellner at univie.ac.at

This paper illustrates a very common use of Journal Citation Reports's
category listing.  Two journals from each category were selected as
indicated in the quoted passage.

"We derived a sample of specialist journals as follows.  First we obtained a
list of the categories of scientific journals used by the Institute for
Scientific Information (www.isinet.com) in its Journal Citation Reports.  We
identified 37 of these categories as being most relevant to medicine and
health.  We excluded the category "Medicine, General & Internal," because it
overlapped with the journals represented on the ICMJE, and we then randomly
selected 12 of the remaining 36 categories.  Within each of these 12
categories, we selected two journls for inclusion in the sample: the North
American journal and the non-North American journal with the highest "impact
factor," a measure used to rank journals according to the number of
citations to the articles they publish.  See the addendum for more
information on sampling"

Eugene Garfield
Eugene Garfield, PhD.  email: garfield at codex.cis.upenn.edu
home page: www.eugenegarfield.org
Tel: 215-243-2205 Fax 215-387-1266
President, The Scientist LLC. www.the-scientist.com
Chairman Emeritus, ISI www.isinet.com
Past President, American Society for Information Science and Technology
(ASIS&T)  www.asis.org

Title    Editorial independence at medical journals owned by professional
         associations: A survey of editors
Author   Davis RM, Mullner M
Journal  SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING ETHICS  8 (4): 513-528 OCT 2002

 Document type: Article    Language: English    Cited References: 44
Times Cited: 0

The purpose of this study was to assess the degree of editorial independence
at a sample of medical journals and the relationship between the journals
and their owners. We surveyed the editors of 33 medical journals owned by
not-for-profit organizations ("associations"), including 10 journals
represented on the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (nine
of which are general medical journals) and a random sample of 23 specialist
journals with high impact factors that are indexed by the Institute for
Scientific Information. The main outcome measures were the authority to
hire, fire, and oversee the work of the editor; the editor's tenure and
financial compensation; control of the journal's budget; publication of
material about the association; and the editor's perceptions about
editorial independence and pressure over editorial content. Of the 33
editors, 23 (70%) reported having complete editorialfreedom, and the
remainder reported a high level of freedom (a score of greater than or equal
to 8, where 10 equals complete editorial freedom and 1 equals no editorial
freedom). Nevertheless, a substantial minority of editors reported having
received at least some pressure in recent years over editorial content from
the association's leadership (42%), senior staff (30%), or rank-and-file
members (39010). The association's board of directors has the authority to
hire (48%) or fire (55%) the editor for about half of the journals, and the
editor reports to the board for 10 journals (30%). Twenty-three editors
(70%) are appointed for a specific term (median term = 5 years).
Three-fifths of the journals have no control over their profit, and the
majority of journals use the association's legal counsel and/or media
relations staff. Stronger safeguards are needed to give editors protection
against pressure over editorial content, including writte guarantees of
editorial freedom and governance structures that support those guarantees.
Strong safeguards are also needed because editors may have less freedom than
they believe (especially if they have not yet tested their freedom in an
area of controversy).

Author Keywords:
editors, editorial independence, editorial freedom, medical journals,
scientific journals

KeyWords Plus:

Davis RM, Henry Ford Hlth Syst, Ctr Hlth Promot & Dis Prevent, 1 Ford Pl,5C,
Detroit, MI 48202 USA
Henry Ford Hlth Syst, Ctr Hlth Promot & Dis Prevent, Detroit, MI 48202 USA
Univ Vienna, Sch Med, Vienna Gen Hosp, Dept Emergency Med, A-1090 Vienna,


IDS Number:


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