What British psychiatrists read: questionnaire survey of journal usage among clinicians.
Jones T., Hanney S., Buxton M., Burns T.
BACKGROUND: The role of journals in disseminating research to clinicians is increasingly debated. Current measures of esteem for journals (e.g. impact factors) may not indicate clinical penetration. AIMS: To assess the perceived importance of different mental health journals to psychiatrists' clinical practice and compare this with impact factors. METHOD: Random samples of psychiatrists providing child and adolescent, adults of working age and old age services chose up to ten journals read or consulted with regard to their clinical work, ranking the top three. For these journals, comparisons were made with impact factors and importance as outlets for UK psychiatry research. RESULTS: A total of 560 questionnaires were completed (47%). Two membership journals (the British Journal of Psychiatry and the BMJ) were most read and highest ranked. Associations between impact factors, clinicians' ratings and importance as outlets for psychiatry papers varied. CONCLUSIONS: The results could lead to reconsideration of the importance of some journals. Academic assessments of the status of journals should not be assumed to reflect their influence on clinicians.