, Volume 81, Issue 3, pp 747-755
Date: 17 Apr 2009

The role of correspondence sections in post-publication peer review: A bibliometric study of general and internal medicine journals

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Abstract

Scientific journals claim that correspondence sections are for post-publication peer review. We compared the conditions for submission and the bibliometrics of letters-to-editors published in leading medical journals in 2002 and 2007 using journal-derived information and data from PubMed and Journal Citation Reports. The median time limit for letter submissions decreased from 6 to 3.5 weeks, the median word limit from 400 to 350. The median number of letters per published article was near one in both years. Only about half of the letters were followed by an author reply in either year. Electronic response systems were available for four journals in 2007.