The years 1999-2000 could serve quite well as a period of marked changes
in biomedical publications. Several important developments involving scientific
publications during this time represent significant changes that may be recognized
as turning points for years to come. Perhaps most noteworthy is the tremendous
capabilities of electronic information dissemination, with the ever-increasing
power, speed, reach, and convenience of the Internet. This development has
revolutionized and probably changed forever the dissemination of scientific
information both from centralized repositories and institutions1
and from individual journals.2 In addition,
concerns about ensuring proper attribution and credit for authorship of scientific
articles have led to efforts to define the exact contributions of each author
of a published article more precisely and to changes in ways to report these
contributions more completely.3,4
Moreover, the dismissal of the editors-in-chief of 2 major general medical
journals in 1999 resulted in careful reexamination of and substantial changes
in the relationship between editors and owners of scientific journals.5,6 Yet, regardless of the magnitude or
potential far-reaching implications of these changes and other challenges
involving scientific publications, the importance of and appreciation for
3 key constituencies—authors, peer reviewers, and readers—undoubtedly
have and must remain unchanged.
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