Because of recent concerns (New York Times. November 16, 1990, and December 2,1990; Chicago Tribune. November 18, 1990) about the delay between the generation of clinically useful information for treatment of patients and the publication of this information in peer-reviewed journals,1,2 we thought it would be a good idea to make explicit the policy we follow for the 10 journals that are published by the American Medical Association (AMA).
The public is interested in health information, and the public news media try to provide it as quickly as possible. Peer-reviewed, primary source medical journals, however, consider original articles only if they have not been published previously. Thus, a conflict sometimes exists between the news media and editors of medical journals who prefer to disseminate complete medical information to physicians after validation through peer review. All concerned want medical information to be as accurate as possible. Medical editors rely on rigorous peer review to evaluate such accuracy prior to accepting papers, and physicians rely on journal publication to provide full information they can assess and explain to patients.