by Dinethra Menon
As someone who creates health and medical content, you’re probably already familiar with the world’s top medical journals – that is, the BMJ, The Lancet, the JAMA and the NEJM.
Following general medicine journals – whether by subscribing to every edition, receiving TOCs (table of contents) only, or visiting its homepage regularly to follow the stories and research – is an important step in keeping your industry awareness current.
Including medical journals as a regular resource in your ongoing reading can also help to:
- Give you new ideas for stories – from reporting on healthcare trends to new drugs or treatment options, journals can be a great source of ideas to communicate to the public
- Improve the quality of your writing – reading a wide variety of high-quality sources leads to improved writing and more effective communication
- Keep you informed with industry trends – which can also help to inform your writing projects and give you scope for unique angles for your work
- Improve your general medical knowledge – another useful trait that all health writers need to work on continuously
So if there’s no particular medical specialty you’re following, and you’re already keeping up with the latest from the top 4, here are 6 more high-quality general medicine journals to follow. Why not add one of them to your reading repertoire this week?
PLOS Medicine publishes articles in general medicine with a focus on biomedical, environmental, social and political determinants of health. The open access publication also publishes articles that benefit clinicians, policymakers and researchers to reform and change health care. PLOS Medicine is a great source for health writers as it publishes the full spectrum of medical science research.
Annals of Internal Medicine was established by the American College of Physicians, and provides free access to select content, such as clinical guidelines, NIH conference content and table of contents. This makes it easy for you to access and keep updated with newly published research in clinical practice.
JGIM is the official journal of the US Society of General Internal Medicine and publishes articles on US research in general internal clinical medicine, hospital medicine and primary care. Although it is US-centric journal, health writers worldwide may find it a great source of evidence on non-traditional issues in medicine such as, prevention, health care delivery, epidemiology and curriculum development.
Nature Medicine published articles for an audience of both medical and PhD doctors. Articles are published in different areas of biology, such as cancer biology, vascular biology, neuroscience, inflammatory disease, infectious disease and metabolic disorders. If you’re looking for evidence about early findings in therapy and human investigation, Nature Medicine is a great source for original research.
The European Journal of Internal Medicine publishes articles on science and internal medicine in Europe. It covers all specialties of internal medicine and is useful way for health writers to keep updated with the latest innovations in European medical research and news.
As an Australian health writer, I had to include an Australian general medicine journal that has wide appeal to healthcare in the Asia-Pacific region. The MJA publishes Australian research about medicine, public health, social, ethical and legal issues in medicine. The MJA is a great source for health writers to keep updated with clinical research and practice in the region, while reading (or participating!) in the latest commentary and opinions from medical experts on standards of clinical care.
About those top 4 general medicine journals
If you’re very new to the field of health & medical writing and would like to learn more about the top 4 medical journals, here is some background:
- The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) – NEJM is one of the oldest peer-reviewed journals and the most widely cited general medical journal in the world. Most readers consider the journal the “gold standard” for the best practices in research and clinical medicine. Articles are generally published with US-centric studies, and are scientifically important, accurate and novel. Published articles include editorials, cases, images, original research and correspondence making it a useful source to tap into health issues shared by experts.
- The Lancet – The Lancet is also one of the world’s oldest journals and is probably the most widely known general medical journal. Most authors consider The Lancet a prestigious journal to have academic research published, making it a great source of high-quality evidence that has undergone a rigorous peer-review process. The Lancet includes a family of journals that cover different medical specialties such as, oncology, infectious diseases, neurology, respiratory medicine, diabetes and endocrinology, psychiatry, HIV, haematology and global health.
- Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) JAMA (formerly Archives of Internal Medicine) is published by the American Medical Association, and has become an internationally recognised peer-reviewed general medical journal, circulated the most in print and online (including social media). The journal includes ten specialty journals that covering research in all internal medicine specialties. And if you have limited access to sourcing research, JAMA provides open access to their article six months after they have been published and on the day with their app (the JAMA Network Reader).
- The British Medical Journal (BMJ) – Although The BMJ was originally published for a local audience in 1840 (then called the Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal), it quickly gained prominence worldwide and today is the fifth most cited general medical journal, with an impact factor (IF) of 17.445 in 2015. The BMJ was the first medical journal to publish a centrally randomised controlled trial and still remains firmly focused on evidence-based medicine, making it a wonderful source of high-quality evidence for health writers.
While it is a little overwhelming to think about reading all this and more every week, it can help to start slowly. There are no ‘rules’ about the amount of journal content you should be reading and following – and it can be impossible to follow everything. Instead, variety and consistency are key.
Which general medicine journals are your regular go-to publications?