Today, when only the largest libraries can attempt to subscribe to all the medical journals, reprints comprise an essential auxiliary to research, and most smaller libraries maintain reprint collections. However, in view of the cost of printing and the rise in mailing rates, Hedgpeth1 declares that this is an appropriate time to call for courtesy and consideration in requesting reprints from authors. The purpose of a reprint, he points out, is to increase the dissemination of information, especially to those who might be most interested. A secondary purpose is to make specialized papers available to colleagues in a more convenient form than they are in the file of a library. Occasionally, reprints are distributed out of less laudatory motives.
An author's personal supply of reprints is limited and usually inadequate to fulfill his obligations to physicians who, it is thought, should have a copy of the paper, and the supply