Curious Dr. George | Plumbing the Core and Nibbling at the Margins of Cancer

The Most Relied Upon Journals in Precision Oncology

George Lundberg, MS, MD, ScD, MASCP, FCAP, Chief Medical Officer and Editor in Chief, CollabRx, a Rennova Health Company; Editor at Large, Medscape; Executive Adviser, Cureus; Consulting Professor of Pathology and Health Research and Policy, Stanford University; President and Chair, The Lundberg Institute; @glundberg

Q: The medical world is running amuck with new information, some credible, some not. What are the most reliable sources of information in Precision Oncology?

A: “Half of knowledge is knowing where to find knowledge”.
No one knows how many medical journals/periodicals there are in the world. Estimates range from 20,000 to 40,000.
Many are general medical journals; many more are specialty or sub-specialty journals. Their foci may be scientific, clinical, or even marketing. A few are strictly on paper; most also have an internet version, either a replicate of the print version, or a hybrid; some are exclusively electronic.
There are many parameters used to evaluate medical journals: exclusionary indexing systems, circulation, readership, revenue, advertising, paid subscription or open access, author fees, profitability, volume of information, frequency of publication, speed to publication, reference citation scores and indices, open and click through rates, page views, library catalogs, public media attention, owner/publisher status, primary language, location, tradition, brand name recognition, and others.
Of course the internet “changed everything “ so now there are “legitimate” as well as “predatory” online-only, open access journals.
CollabRx works in the field of Precision Oncology. We rely heavily on availability and veracity of the published literature. CollabRx enjoys the voluntary contributions of scores of unpaid editorial board members.
So, in 2016, I made the following request of sixty-six (66) of our editorial board members, paid staff and a few other esteemed experts:
Twenty nine individuals (44%) responded. A total of 70 journals were named. ONLY 10 journals had 10 or more advocates. This was a single pass survey.
The top 10 are:
New England Journal of Medicine-28;
Journal of Clinical Oncology- 27;
Lancet Oncology- 15;
Cancer Clinical Research-15;
Cancer Research-13;
Nature Medicine-12;
Cancer Discovery-12;
Journal of the American Medical Association- 11;
JAMA Oncology-10.
Eight (8) journals drew 5-9 advocates.
Science-9; Blood-9; Science Translational Medicine -8; Cancer Cell-7; Oncotarget-7; Journal of the National Cancer Institute – 7; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics-7; Cell-6.
Sixteen (16) publications enjoyed 2-4 advocates.
Cancer-4; Cell Reports; Breast Cancer Research; British Journal of Cancer; Annals of Internal Medicine; Nature Review Clinical Oncology-3 each; these attracted 2 each: European Urology; Clinical Cancer Research; Annals of Hematology/Oncology; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; PLoS ONE; PLoS; Journal of Precision Medicine; Journal of Thoracic Oncology; Nature Genetics; New York Times.
The remainder (36) were named by a single advocate.
AJCP; AACR; Annals of Oncology; Arch Path Lab Med; BMC Cancer; Brit J Urol; Cancer Genetics; Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy; Cancer Science; Clin Adc in Hem and Onc; Euro J Cancer; HemOnc Today; Haematologica; Immunity; Int J of Cancer; JCI; J Comm and Supportive Oncology; JID; J of Onco Pract; JNCCN; J or Urol; Leukemia; Mayo Cl Proc; Molecular Cancer Research; Molecular Cell; Molecular Oncology; Nature Biotech; Nature Cancer Biology; Nature Review Drug Discovery; Nature Methods; Oncogene; Oncologist; Pig Cell Mel Res; PLoS Genetics; Urology; Prostate Diseases; WSJ.
The data source is: EXPERT OPINION. This may be as good a way as any to evaluate a medical publication, as long as you can engage “the best experts”. Was your favorite source included or missing?
Write to me at to add other favorites or to argue that some that are included here are unfairly ranked or should be delisted.
Medical and Scientific Journalology is a big deal. Once scientific work has been accomplished, unless it is written about, no one else will ever learn from it. The economics and sociology of medical publishing are also big deals, and are very much in flux. This blog may address other publishing issues as time goes by, especially topics like “paywalls” for readers and publication costs borne by the authors.
Copyright: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.