Publication Types and Stratifying their Importance

January 11, 2019

 

Peer-reviewed publications.

 

1. The gold standard for publication, the monarchy of publications, is the peer-reviewed literature. Amongst publications in the peer-reviewed literature are original research, with the highest status, subjected to statistical analysis and a large data sample and hopefully with scientific comparison to a control group. This is la creme de la creme. Journals are also stratified by impact factor (which means how often articles published in that journal are cited [referenced] in future papers). So journals are rated by impact factor, so the higher the impact factor, the higher the regard of the journal, and of articles published in that journal. So journals at the peak of impact factor are New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Lancet, and JAMA.

 

But there is tremendous nuance in journals and publications that involve a great number of variables and biases: mainly the biases of the editor in chief, section editors and reviewers, especially the reviewers. Generally speaking though as flawed as it all may be, it more or less remains the best way the scientific community can think of recognizing the validity of scientific work: it has been subjected to scrutiny by peers. In thinking of peer- reviewed literature, I am reminded of one of Winston Churchill's famous quotation:

 

Democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time

 

2. The next highest category of publication is being the author or editor in chief of a major text-book.

 

3. The next highest is a review article (or opinion piece, lower recognition) in a peer-reviewed journal.

 

4. The next is an article in a non-peer reviewed publication, such as a book chapter (higher recognition) or a professional magazine (lower recognition).

 

5. On-line non-peer reviewed writings.

 

Where all this is of importance to the GDD community, is for the disease to achieve formal recognition by major organizations (FDA/NIH/Insurance companies)  that impact sufferers, there has to be  sufficient publications that appear in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Generalization is also important, so different groups have to publish similar findings. Everything less than that gets relatively little recognition. For example, all of my blogs fit into category 5.

 

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