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What is a journal?
  1. Catherine M Otto
  1. Correspondence to Professor Catherine M Otto, Editor in Chief, Heart,BMJ Publishing, London, UK; cmotto{at}u.washington.edu

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It has never been easier to find, read or publish a scientific article than it is today. Readers can quickly search for and view scientific articles anytime anywhere using a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Researchers can publish their data in conventional journals, in online-only open access journals or in other electronic formats.1 Scientific publishing itself has been transformed by the ability to handle the complex process of article submission, peer review, editorial decisions, and production electronically. This increase in the ease and speed of publication has been paralleled by a growing family of medical specialty periodicals. In the field of ‘Cardiac and cardiovascular systems’, the number of publications listed in the Journal Citation Index increased from 66 to 122 over the past 10 years, with an approximately 50% increase in the number of individual citable papers.2 Simultaneously, the aggregate citation index for these journals has risen, suggesting that there are not only more papers but also better science with more cross-referencing between research groups.

Journals: there can never be too many

More journals, more papers, more communication, more science—like espresso stores in Seattle, there can never be …

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