Editorial |

Prepublication Release of Medical Research

Phil B. Fontanarosa, MD; Annette Flanagin, RN, MA
JAMA. 2000;284(22):2927-2929. doi:10.1001/jama.284.22.2927.
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Exactly when and how findings from medical research studies should be disseminated to clinicians, other researchers, and the public is a critically important yet contentious issue.14 The tradeoffs between expediency and ensuring quality and accuracy have long been recognized and debated but have come under increasing attention recently, particularly with the use of electronic media for communication of medical research findings. Medical researchers, especially those involved in major studies, usually want to communicate the results of their research as widely and as quickly as possible. Journalists, well aware of the public's "right to know" and seemingly insatiable desire for information about health and medicine, are interested in promptly reporting medical news, especially about potential "breakthrough" research findings. However, journal editors, responsible for ensuring that the scientific information they publish is assessed for quality by peer review and editorial evaluation, generally discourage prepublication release so that the entire study, with full methods and results as well as proper caveats, can be appropriately evaluated and interpreted.

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