The Lancet: Wikis


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The Lancet  
Abbreviated title(s) Lancet
Discipline Medicine
Language English
Edited by Richard Horton
Publication details
Publisher Joseph Onwhyn (United Kingdom)
Publication history 1823–present
Frequency 52/year
ISSN 0140-6736

The Lancet is a peer-reviewed general medical journal, published weekly. It is one of the world's best-known, oldest, and most respected general medical journals,.[1] With editorial offices in London and New York, The Lancet was founded in 1823 by Thomas Wakley, who named it after the surgical instrument called a lancet, as well as an arched window ("to let in light"). Since 1991 The Lancet is owned by Elsevier, a part of Reed Elsevier. As of 2008, the editor-in-chief is Richard Horton.

The Lancet has taken a political stand on several important medical and non medical issues. Recent examples include criticism of the World Health Organization, rejecting claims of the efficacy of homeopathy as a therapeutic option,[2] disapproval during the time Reed Exhibitions hosted arms industry fairs, and a call in 2003 for tobacco to be made illegal.[3]



The Lancet has a significant readership throughout the world with a high impact factor, especially via its website, which has attracted over 1.8 million registered users since its launch in 1996. It publishes original research articles, review articles ("seminars" and "reviews"), editorials, book reviews, correspondences, amidst other regulars such as news features and case reports. The Lancet is considered to be one of the "core" general medical journals, the others being the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the British Medical Journal. In the latest Journal Citation Reports (2008), The Lancet's impact factor was ranked third among general medical journals, at 28.4, after the New England Journal of Medicine (50.0) and the Journal of the American Medical Association (31.7).[4]

Journals family

The Lancet has now given birth to three specialty journals, all bearing the parent title — The Lancet Neurology (neurology), and The Lancet Oncology (oncology), both of which publish original research and reviews and The Lancet Infectious Diseases (infectious diseases), which publishes reviews. All of them have established significant reputations as important journals in their medical specialty. The Lancet Neurology's impact factor is 14.270, The Lancet Oncologys is 13.283, and The Lancet Infectious Diseases is 13.165.[5] The lancet also launched an online journal for students interested in global health called The Lancet Student.

Volume renumbering

Prior to 1990, Lancet had volume numbering that reset every year. Issues in January to June were in volume i, with the rest in volume ii. In 1990, Lancet moved to a sequential volume numbering scheme, with two volumes per year. Volumes were retro-actively assigned to the years prior to 1990, with the first issue of 1990 being assigned volume 335, and the last issue of 1989 assigned volume 334. The table of contents listing on Science Direct uses this new numbering scheme.[6]

Controversial articles

The Lancet was severely criticized after it published a paper in 1998, in which the authors suggested a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. In February 2004 The Lancet published a partial retraction of the paper (Lancet 2004;363:750).[7] The editor-in-chief, Richard Horton, went on the record to say the paper had "fatal conflicts of interest" because one of the authors, Andrew Wakefield, had a serious conflict of interest that he had not declared to The Lancet.[8]

The Lancet published a controversial estimate of the Iraq war's Iraqi death toll—around one hundred thousand—in 2004. In 2006 a followup study by the same team suggested that the violent death rate in Iraq was not only consistent with the earlier estimate, but had increased considerably in the intervening period (Lancet surveys of casualties of the Iraq War). The second survey estimated that there had been 654,965 excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war. The 95% confidence interval was 392,979 to 942,636. 1,849 households that contained 12,801 people were surveyed.[9]

In January 2006, it was revealed that data had been fabricated in an article[10] by the Norwegian cancer researcher Jon Sudbø and 13 co-authors published in The Lancet in October 2005.[11][12] Several articles in other scientific journals were withdrawn following the withdrawal in The Lancet. Within a week, the high-impact New England Journal of Medicine published an expression of editorial concern regarding its published research papers by the same author and in November 2006, the journal withdrew two oral cancer studies led by the Norwegian researcher.[13]

In a 2009 editorial, it accused Pope Benedict XVI of publicly distorting scientific evidence on condoms to promote Catholic doctrine on chastity in AIDS prevention.[14] The Vatican defended itself by pointing to an earlier Lancet article published in 2000 which asserted that condoms could not possibly be sufficient in solving the AIDS crisis. [15]

See also


  1. ^ "Pope 'distorting condom science'". BBC News. 27 March 2009. "One of the world's most prestigious medical journals, the Lancet, has accused Pope Benedict XVI of distorting science in his remarks on condom use."  
  2. ^ "Homoeopathy's benefit questioned". BBC News. 26 August 2005.  
  3. ^ Ferriman A (2003). "Lancet calls for tobacco to be made illegal". British Medical Journal 327: 1364. doi:10.1136/bmj.327.7428.1364-b.  
  4. ^ 2008 Journal Citation Report Science Edition, Thompson Reuters, 2009
  5. ^ 2008 Journal Citation Report Science Edition, Thompson Reuters, 2009
  6. ^ The Lancet. Science Direct.
  7. ^ Lyall J (2004). "Editor in the eye of a storm". British Medical Journal 328 (7438): 528. doi:10.1136/bmj.328.7438.528. PMID 15164721.  
  8. ^ "MMR researchers issue retraction". BBC News. 4 March 2004.  
  9. ^ Coghlan B (30 October 2006). "Gut reaction aside, those on the ground know Iraq reality". Eureka Street.  
  10. ^ Sudbø J, Lee JJ, Lippman SM, et al. (2005). "Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the risk of oral cancer: a nested case-control study". The Lancet 366 (9494): 1359–66. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67488-0.  
  11. ^ Cancer study patients 'made up'. BBC News. 16 January 2006.  
  12. ^ Hafstad A (17 January 2006). "Største svindel verden har sett". Aftenposten.   (Norwegian)
  13. ^ Cortez MF (1 November 2006). "Medical Journal Retracts Oral Cancer Studies Linked to Fraud".  
  14. ^ "Pope 'publicly distorted' condom science: Lancet".  
  15. ^ "Radio Vatican article".  

External links



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