Intended for healthcare professionals


Why doctors don't read research papers

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 27 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:256

Scientific papers are not written to disseminate information

  1. Michael O'Donnell (, former general practitioner turned journeyman writer
  1. Loxhill GU8 4BD

EDITOR—I sympathise with Barraclough.1 The reader deterring style in which most scientific papers are written has evolved because they are written not to be read but to be published. Authors are eager to get their names in print not because they are bursting to tell us something but for more solemn reasons. Another paper means another line on a curriculum vitae, another step towards a job or a research grant.

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