, 81:747 | Cite as

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

  • Erik Von ElmEmail author
  • Simon Wandel
  • Peter Jüni


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.


Journal Citation Report Journal Impact Factor Author Reply Electronic Response Word Limit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Journal information

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    Annals of Internal Medicine. Philadelphia. American College of Physicians. ISSN: 0003-4819. Authors instructions available at:
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    Annual Review of Medicine. Palo Alto. Annual Reviews. ISSN: 0066-4219. Authors instructions available at:
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    Archives of Internal Medicine. Chicago. American Medical Association. ISSN: 0003-9926. Author instructions available at:
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    BMJ: British Medical Journal. London. British Medical Association. ISSN: 0959-8146. Authors instructions available at:
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    CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal. Ottawa. Canadian Medical Association. ISSN: 0820-3946. Authors instructions available at:
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    JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association. Chicago. American Medical Association. ISSN: 0002-9955. Authors instructions available at:
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    Lancet. London. Lancet Publishing Group. ISSN: 0140-6736. Authors instructions available at:
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    Medicine. Baltimore. Lippincott Williams Wilkins. ISSN: 0025-7974. Authors instructions available at:
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    New England Journal of Medicine. Boston, Massachusetts Medical Society. ISSN: 0028-4793. Author instructions available at:
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    Pediatrics. Elk Grove Village, IL. American Academy of Pediatrics. ISSN: 0031-4005. Author instructions available at:
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    PLoS Medicine. San Francisco. Public Library of Science. ISSN: 1549-1277. Authors instructions available at:
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    PLoS ONE. San Francisco. Public Library of Science. ISSN: 1932-6203 Author instructions available at:

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)University of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.German Cochrane Centre, Department of Medical Biometry and StatisticsUniversity Medical CentreFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Clinical Trials Unit (CTU)Bern University HospitalBernSwitzerland

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