A medical journal is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that communicates medical information to physicians, other health professionals. Journals that cover many medical specialties are sometimes called general medical journals.[1]


The first medical journals were general medical journals. The first English-language general medical journal was Medicina Curiosa, established in 1684, but unfortunately, it ceased publication after only two issues.[2] The first medical journal to be published in the United Kingdom was Medical Essays and Observations, established in 1731 and published in Edinburgh;[3] the first to be published in the United States was The Medical Repository, established in 1797.[4]

Among the oldest general medical journals that are still in publication today are The Lancet, established in 1823, and the New England Journal of Medicine, established in 1812.[2] Specialty-specific medical journals were first introduced in the early 20th century.[5]

In 1999, Medscape launched Medscape General Medicine, which became the world's first online-only general medical journal.[6]

General medical journals

Journals that are recognized as general medical journals include The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine,[2] and the Annals of Internal Medicine.[7] In 2009, the three highest-ranked general medical journals by impact factor were JAMA, The Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine.[8] The BMJ's web editor, Tony Delamothe, has described the BMJ as a general medical journal.[9] The Medical Journal of Australia is the only general medical journal in Australia,[10] and the Canadian Medical Association Journal has been called the leading general medical journal in Canada.[11]


Richard Smith, the former editor of the medical journal the BMJ, has been critical of many of the aspects of modern-day medical journal publishing.[5][12] Critics of medical publishing have argued that problems related to gaming of citation and authorship are prevalent in the field, as many authors did not actually contribute to the articles that their names are on, many contributors to the articles are excluded from authorship, and strategic and unnecessary citations are prevalent to boost scores.[13]

See also


  1. ^ Stevens, Lise M.; Lynm, Cassio; Glass, Richard M. (2006-04-19). "Medical Journals". JAMA. 295 (15): 1860. doi:10.1001/jama.295.15.1860. ISSN 0098-7484. PMID 16622154.
  2. ^ a b c Ioannidis, John P. A.; Belbasis, Lazaros; Evangelou, Evangelos; Gupta, Vineet (1 September 2010). "Fifty-Year Fate and Impact of General Medical Journals". PLOS ONE. 5 (9): e12531. Bibcode:2010PLoSO...512531I. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012531. PMC 2931710. PMID 20824146.
  3. ^ Booth, C C (1982-07-10). "Medical communication: the old and new. The development of medical journals in Britain". British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Ed.). 285 (6335): 105–108. doi:10.1136/bmj.285.6335.105. ISSN 0267-0623. PMC 1498905. PMID 6805825.
  4. ^ Kahn, Richard J.; Kahn, Patricia G. (2009-08-20). "The Medical Repository — The First U.S. Medical Journal (1797–1824)". New England Journal of Medicine. 337 (26): 1926–1930. doi:10.1056/nejm199712253372617. PMID 9407162.
  5. ^ a b Smith, R. (2006). "The trouble with medical journals". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 99 (3): 115–119. doi:10.1177/014107680609900311. PMC 1383755. PMID 16508048.
  6. ^ Woody, Todd (7 May 1999). "Online journal could shake up medical breakthrough news". CNN. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  7. ^ Ray, Joel; Berkwits, Michael; Davidoff, Frank (August 2000). "The fate of manuscripts rejected by a general medical journal". The American Journal of Medicine. 109 (2): 131–135. doi:10.1016/S0002-9343(00)00450-2. PMID 10967154.
  8. ^ Kulkarni, Abhaya V. (9 September 2009). "Comparisons of Citations in Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar for Articles Published in General Medical Journals". JAMA. 302 (10): 1092–6. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1307. PMID 19738094.
  9. ^ Delamothe, T (21 December 2002). "How political should a general medical journal be?". BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.). 325 (7378): 1431–2. doi:10.1136/bmj.325.7378.1431. PMC 1124893. PMID 12493649.
  10. ^ Davey, Melissa (7 May 2015). "Backlash over Stephen Leeder sacking puts Medical Journal of Australia in peril". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  11. ^ Mehta, Diana (4 April 2012). "65 going on 16: Medical journal proposes new rules for elderly drivers". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  12. ^ Smith, Richard (2005-05-17). "Medical Journals Are an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies". PLOS Medicine. 2 (5): e138. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020138. ISSN 1549-1676. PMC 1140949. PMID 15916457.
  13. ^ MacDonald, Stuart (2023). "The gaming of citation and authorship in academic journals: a warning from medicine". Social Science Information. 61 (4): 457–480. doi:10.1177/05390184221142218. S2CID 256710783.