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Publish or Perish Revisited

William Silen, MD
Arch Surg. 1996;131(8):798. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1996.01430200008001.
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A 1-PAGE commentary titled "Surgical Research or Comic Opera: Questions, but Few Answers," recently published in Lancet,1 concluded as follows:

Only when the quality of publications in the surgical literature has improved will surgeons reasonably be able to rebut the charge that as much as half of the research they undertake is misconceived.

This serious indictment followed a review of the first 1996 issues of 9 of the most widely read general surgical journals. The immediate reaction of many, if not most, surgeons will be to reject completely the veracity of these accusations. The charge, however, is of such great import to the academic surgical community that heed should be paid to a reasoned examination of the genesis of such a position.

First, there are far too many surgical journals for the number of studies of excellence currently emanating from surgical departments around the world. New journals dealing with


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