Middeke Martin "Significance of the "Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift" (DMW)" Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift Vol:131 (36): 1927-1928 September 8 2006
garfield at CODEX.CIS.UPENN.EDU
Tue Dec 5 17:38:57 EST 2006
E-Mail : Martin.Middeke at thieme.de
The original article was published in German. The author has kindly
provided an English translation - reproduced below - for the readers of SIG-
Title: Significance of the "Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift" (DMW)
Authors: Middeke, M
Source: DEUTSCHE MEDIZINISCHE WOCHENSCHRIFT 131 (36): 1927-1928 SEP 8 2006
Document Type: Editorial Material
Reprint Address: Middeke, M, DMW Chefredakt, Rudigerstr 14, D-70469
Among the 100 leading specialist journals worldwide for internal and
general medicine there are seven weeklies which actually appear weekly –
apart from some double issues (Tab. 1). Accordingly, these journals are
also leading in the number of articles published annually (Tab. 2).
Tab. 1. Publication frequency of the 100 leading specialist journals for
internal medicine and general medicine (ISI)
Publication frequency Journals (numbers)
The DMW is in 6th place in the ISI ranking of the number of articles
published, placing the DMW first among non-English speaking journals.
There are two more journals in the German-speaking zone which have 24
issues each annually with 120 and 93 articles, respectively: the former
Schweizer Medizinische Wochenschrift , since a few years publishing in
English as Swiss Med. WKLY, and Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift, which has
some articles in English.
Regarding the citation ranking (1), the DMW, the result of its language, is
right in the middle. The other two weeklies not in English - , the Spanish
Med Clin Barcelona and the French Presse Medicale are important journals in
their language zone, i.e. also outside of Europe.
Journal Issues Articles (nos.) Citations (nos.)
Per year (nos.) Rank Rank
N Engl J Med 52 308/7 167894/1
Lancet 52 423/2 131161/2
BMJ 52 440/1 58516/4
DMW 52 325/6 2050/35
JAMA 48 380/4 95715/3
Med Clin Barcelona40 203/19 2084/28
Presse Médicale 40 303/10 1720/36
The reasons for the relatively low impact factor (IF) of the journals in
internal medicine that are not in English (among German journals the DMW is
the leading one) are well known. Eugene Garfield who invented the IF (2) is
himself fully aware of its limitations but believes that at the moment
there is no better tool for scientific evaluation (3). The IF has long
since been used – or should one say debased - as the most important
marketing argument in the English-speaking zone. Garfield himself has
remarked that the IF is merely a unit of measure which does not say
anything about editorial or authoritative qualities of a journal. Several
mechanisms may inflate the IF. A very good example is the Annual Review of
Medicine. Although it has only one issue containing 30 (!) reviews in 2005,
it had 3517 citations, ranking 5th after the New England Journal of
Medicine, Lancet, JAMA and Ann Intern Med! Even a high–powered German
journal, with one issue per year and a few very good reviews, which may
well be widely cited, has presumably a good chance chance to advance
within the phalanx of the firs 10 journals with the highest IF.
The DMW has for many years been primarily a journal for continuing
education. Original articles are of course desired, especially when they
address specifically German themes, e.g. epidemiology, research into
medical care, public health policies and interdisciplinary aspects.
Original articles still have the most citations, followed by case reports.
reviews and articles for the section on “Current diagnosis and treatment”
coming third. Our authors appreciate the wide distribution of the DMW and
its high reputation as a mouthpiece for German medicine, also abroad.
The number of annually published articles is by itself no sign of its
worth without corresponding quality. Our credo is to have a consistent
peer review process, not “poor review” or even “no review”, as is
overwhelmingly the case in Germany; this applies to all articles, except
editorials or commentaries. It is also the case for all focus issues, for
some commissioned contributions, as well as for all regular issues. Even
our externally financed supplements are reviewed. This is now appreciated
even by pharmaceutical companies as a special criterion of quality.
Our peer review consists of two external assessments and an internal
technical review, as well as an additional biometric report for original
articles, if indicated. In case of opposing reviews a third one is
obtained. This form of peer review has been accepted by all of our authors.
Occasionally, in case of rejection, the authors advance good arguments
and/or adequately meet any objections expressed in the peer reviews, so
that renewed submission of the manuscript may be undertaken.
The average rejection rate for all the different sections was 25% in 2005.
About 60% of manuscripts are clearly or even greatly improved. No or only
minor changes are necessary or useful in 40%. The latter could have been
published without peer review, but as a rule they profit from editorial
attention. These figures refer particularly to focus issues. The reaction
of renowned authors to a peer review is usually neutral, but in some cases
expressly positive, only rarely angry. But even angry authors will still
produce a good revised manuscript.
Even when an article has been rejected after review the authors are sent
detailed reasons and, if indicated, suggestions for improvement.
Occasionally articles rejected by us are published in other journals. In
this case, our review has contributed to the quality of publication
Of course, peer review is only possible if the experts are willing to give
an opinion. Even though manuscripts submitted to us are by now passed on to
some hundreds of experts, their voluntary and unpaid efforts in the service
of science or continuing education are considerable. Even in these lines
special thanks must be expressed ro our editors and reviewers.
Our readers deserve highest quality and objectivity. Consistent critical
assessment, also of further-education articles is essential, especially and
obviously for those written for certified medical education (Continuing
Medical Education) , which serve for collecting points towards a doctor’s
own quality certification,
What criteria for quality actually apply to medical journals? This question
must be answered by each doctor. How is it possible that every day a pile
of “free” journals is pushed through the letter-box? It would be good to
know about the conditions pertaining to medical publishing. We believe
that a paid-for menu by a top chef is simply better than a free fast-food
meal. The DMW puts its trust, in addition to its reliable and traditional
subscribers, in the quality-conscious young generation.
Our market research has shown again and again that the DMW continues to be
a strong and trusted brand. This is true also for our modern 2006 layout.
We are also grateful for suggestions from our readers and our discussions
Conclusion: The ranking of the DMW remains very good. But there is no
reason to stand still. With the help of its authors, expert reviewers and,
of course, its readers the DMW will continue to be one of the most
important German-language medical organs.
1 Journal Citation Reports 2005
2 Garfield E. Citation indexes to science: a
new dimension in documentation through
the association of ideas. Science 1955;
3 Garfield E. Use of Journal Citation Reports
and Journal Performance Indicators in
Measuring Short and Long Term Journal
Impact. Council of Scientific Editors Annula
Meeting, San Antonio (TX, USA), May 9,
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