Background: Medical progress in the world is divulged to peers and colleagues through books and scientific journals. It is thus linked not only to the quality of articles, but also to their type.
Material And Methods: The type of articles published in three Italian periodicals (Annali Italiani di Chirurgia; Chirurgia; Minerva chirurgica) and three foreign periodicals published in English (Annals of Surgery; British Journal of Surgery; Surgery, Gynecology & Obstetrics) was compared. The articles were classified according to their potential contribution to medical progress, being divided into two main groups: research papers and simple case series or case reports. Other types of articles (reviews, description of surgical techniques, editorials etc.) were excluded from the study.
Results: Both the total number and the percentage of research papers were markedly superior in the three foreign journals with respect to the three Italian periodicals. All the differences were highly significant.
Conclusions: The number of research papers published in Italian periodicals should be increased. Greater attention should be paid to quality, at the expense of quantity, since serious research inevitably takes longer to perform.
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