Prestigious Science Journals Rapidly Declining In Influence Due to Drug Company Funding

November 12, 2012

12 Nov (WAKING TIMES) – The most prestigious peer-reviewed journals in the world are having less influence amongst scientists, according to a paper co-authored by Vincent Lariviere, a professor at the University of Montreal’s School of Library and Information Sciences.

Lariviere questions the relationship between journal “impact factor” and number of citations subsequently received by papers.

Medical journals can no longer be trusted to provide accurate, unbiased information about biomedicine since funding is almost entirely funded by drug companies. And it’s showing.

Richard Smith, the ex-editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), publicly criticized his former publication, saying the BMJ was too dependent on advertising revenue to be considered impartial. Smith estimates that between two-thirds to three-quarters of the trials published in major journals — Annals of Internal Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine — are funded by the industry, while about one-third of the trials published in the BMJ are thus funded. He further adds that trials are so valuable to drug companies that they will often spend upwards of $1 million in reprint costs (which are additional sources of major revenues for medical journals).

Consumers trust medical journals to be the impartial and “true” source of information concerning a prescription drug, but few are privy to what is truly going on behind the scenes at both drug trials and medical journals.One result is few impact studies that are referenced in additional research.

“In 1990, 45% of the top 5% most cited articles were published in the top 5% highest impact factor journals. In 2009, this rate was only 36%,” Lariviere said. “This means that the most cited articles are published less exclusively in high impact factor journals.” The proportion of these articles published in major scholarly journals has sharply declined over the last twenty years. His study was based on a sample of more than 820 million citations and 25 million articles published between 1902 and 2009. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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