Intended for healthcare professionals


Pleasing both authors and readers

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 03 April 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:888

A combination of short print articles and longer electronic ones may help us do this

  1. Tony Delamothe, Web editor,
  2. Marcus Müllner, Editorial registrar,
  3. Richard Smith, Editor

    Papers pp 897-914

    To succeed, journals need to please both authors and readers. There is, however, a tension between the needs of the two, particularly when the authors are mostly researchers and the readers mostly practitioners. Practitioners like research articles to be short and sweet, whereas researchers want—rightly—to include enough material for critical readers (often other researchers) to be able to appraise the study and if necessary repeat it and also, increasingly, to be able to include it in a systematic review. Journals have struggled with this tension for years, and often the result is that we please nobody. Research among readers consistently shows that research articles are not well read, while many studies have shown that essential data are often missing from research reports. Now the electronic revolution offers us a chance to please both readers and authors simultaneously.

    Today's BMJincludes four papers where a short version is published in the paper journal and a …

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