Peer review and journal impact factor: the two pillars of contemporary medical publishing

Hippokratia 2010; 14 (Suppl 1): 5-12

S. Triaridis, A. Kyrgidis


The appraisal of scientific quality is a particularly difficult problem. Editorial boards resort to secondary criteria including crude publication counts, journal prestige, the reputation of authors and institutions, and estimated importance and relevance of the research field, making peer review a controversial rather than a rigorous process. On this background different methods for evaluating research may become required, including citation rates and journal impact factors (IF), which are thought to be more quantitative and objective indicators, directly related to published science. The aim of this review is to go into the two pillars of contemporary medical publishing, that is the peer review process and the IF. Qualified experts??? reviewing the publications appears to be the only way for the evaluation of medical publication quality. To improve and standardise the principles, procedures and criteria used in peer review evaluation is of great importance. Standardizing and improving training techniques for peer reviewers, would allow for the magnification of a journal???s impact factor. This may be a very important reason that impact factor and peer review need to be analyzed simultaneously. Improving a journal???s IF would be difficult without improving peer-review efficiency. Peer-reviewers need to understand the fundamental principles of contemporary medical publishing, that is peer-review and impact factors. The current supplement of the Hippokratia for supporting its seminar for reviewers will help to fulfil some of these scopes.