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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 611-617

Possible bias in the publication trends of high impact factor anesthesiology and gastroenterology journals –an analysis of 5 years' data

1 Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA
2 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA
3 Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, Arrowhead Dr, Las Cruces, NM, USA
4 Department of Biological Sciences, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
5 Department of Biological Sciences, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA
6 Cherry Hill High School East, NJ, USA

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Basavana Goudra
Department of Anesthesia, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aer.AER_116_18

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Background: We hypothesize that being an editorial board member (EBM) in a high impact factor specialty medical journal increases the chances of publishing in the same journal. Materials and Methods: The publication trends of the first five EBMs in the five highest impact factor Anesthesiology and Gastroenterology journals were analyzed. Preceding 5 years' publications appearing on PubMed were grouped into as follows: number of publications in the journal in which the EBM serves (N1), number of publications by the same author in the other four highest impact factor (IF) journals (N2) and number of publications in all the other journals (N3). We evaluated the probability of the observed distribution of publications in the five highest IF journals happening by chance alone, assuming that all the EBMs had the same opportunity of publishing in any of these journals. The probability of publishing in their own journal was assumed to be one fifth. Results: The EBMs published their manuscripts in their own journal at a very high frequency. Encompassing all ten journals, the calculated P value for such a distribution was <0.001. In two journals, Anesthesia and Analgesia and Anaesthesia, the EBMs' publications in their journal were more than twice the cumulative total in the remaining four journals. In three of the five gastroenterology journals analyzed, combined publications of the five EBMs were greater in their own journal than the remaining four journals combined. Conclusions: Despite proclaimed fair peer review process, EBMs seem to get preference in their own journals.

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