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Leg Med (Tokyo). 2009 Apr;11 Suppl 1:S9-12. doi: 10.1016/j.legalmed.2009.01.002. Epub 2009 Mar 6.

The role of international journals in legal/forensic medicine.

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Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Turku, Finland, Kiinamyllynkatu 10, FI-20520 Turku, Finland.


The foremost task for scientific journals is the dissemination of knowledge and advancement of new ideas and theories, as science does not exist until it has been published. The first prerequisite for scientific information to become effective is determined by a favourable outcome in the publishing process after which the information is made available to the scientific community for affirmation or rejection. The world of scientific publishing has changed substantially during the past decade and these changes have affected all parties involved in the publishing process, as well as the readership. Web-based editorial systems allow on-line submission, reviewing and often immediate access to an electronic version of the paper as soon as it has been accepted. With these changes, the pace of the whole publishing process has changed. Publication puts intellectual property at the disposal of other scientists, who when using it, should credit this by citation. The accumulation of citations is in turn capitalized into the asset called 'reputation'. As the scientific quality and the merit of a scientific publication is very difficult to assess by anyone other than other experts in the same field, peer review is the traditional method of assessing the quality of research. Bibliometrics have provided the scientific community with new and interesting parameters to analyze scientific literature. As human nature is prone to seek facile solutions, these parameters, such as the Impact Factor, have become very popular among university administrators and have been used as short cuts to "measure" scientific performance and quality, despite the well known limitations and unsuitability of citations as a measure of research quality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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