Jones TH, Hanney S. and Buxton MJ "The journals of importance to UK clinicians: a questionnaire survey of surgeons" BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2006, 6:24 June 8, 2006 - doi:10.1186/1472-6947-6-24

Eugene Garfield garfield at CODEX.CIS.UPENN.EDU
Wed Jun 14 14:51:30 EDT 2006

E-mail addresses:
Teresa.Jones at
Stephen.Hanney at
Martin.Buxton at

Open Access - Article available at :

TITLE : The journals of importance to UK clinicians: a questionnaire survey
of surgeons

AUTHORS : Teresa H Jones , Steve Hanney  and Martin J Buxton

SOURCE : BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2006, 6:24
Published   8 June 2006

Abstract (provisional)

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.


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 NHS-funded surgery publications,
journal impact factors and other similar surveys.


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.


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.

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