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Is the Critical Reader Dead?

Alfred Soffer, MD
JAMA. 1967;200(3):229-230. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120160095014.
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The illustrations in a communication which recently appeared in a reputable medical journal looked vaguely familiar to me. A hurried search in our periodical files provided a full explanation for this episode of apparent déjà vu. A truncated version of the report and a few of the identical figures (obviously provided by the senior investigator) had been printed in a medical news magazine several months before. Staffs of journals representing every medical discipline are reporting comparable experiences. Thus, in many instances, the pattern of communication between investigator and clinician has altered dramatically. Intensive efforts to provide a plethora of news reports written exclusively for physicians is a recent phenomenon. Has introduction of mass distribution news periodicals for the physician decreased the importance of traditional medical journals? Are these media truly "competitive," or are the functions they serve so different that the discretionary reader would find it impossible to substitute one


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