The Lancet

Infobox Journal
title = The Lancet

discipline = peer-reviewed medical journal
abbreviation = Lancet
publisher = Joseph Onwhyn
country = Britain
history = founded 1823
website =
ISSN = 0140-6736

"This article is about the journal. For other uses of the term "lancet", see Lancet (disambiguation)."

The Lancet is a peer-reviewed general medical journal, published weekly by Elsevier, part of Reed Elsevier.

One of the world's best-known and most respected general medical journals, 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"). As of 2008, the editor-in-chief is Richard Horton.

"The Lancet" takes a stand on several important medical issues - recent examples include criticism of the World Health Organization, rejecting the efficacy of homeopathy as a therapeutic option, disapproval during the time Reed Exhibitions hosted arms industry fairs, and a call in 2003 for tobacco to be made illegal. [Ferriman, Annabel. [ Lancet calls for tobacco to be made illegal] . BMJ 2003;327:1364 (13 December), doi:10.1136/bmj.327.7428.1364-b.]


"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 "Canadian Medical Association Journal", the "Journal of the American Medical Association", and the "British Medical Journal". "The Lancet"'s impact factor is currently ranked #2 among general medical journals, second only to the NEJM Institute for Scientific Information Journal Citation Reports.Fact|date=September 2008

Journals family

"The Lancet" has now given birth to three speciality 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.

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. [ [ The Lancet] . Science Direct.]

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). [Lyall, Joanna. [ Editor in the eye of a storm] . BMJ 2004;328:528 (28 February), doi:10.1136/bmj.328.7438.528.] 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". [ [ MMR researchers issue retraction] . BBC News, online edition, 4 March 2004.]

"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. 1849 households that contained 12,801 people were surveyed. [Coghlan, Ben. [ Gut reaction aside, those on the ground know Iraq reality] . "Eureka Street", 30 October 2006.]

In January 2006, it was revealed that data had been fabricated in an article [ [ "Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the risk of oral cancer: a nested case-control study] ". PMID: 16226613, PubMed indexed for MEDLINE.] by the Norwegian cancer researcher Jon Sudbø and 13 co-authors published in "The Lancet" in October 2005. [ [ Cancer study patients 'made up'] . BBC News, online edition, 16 January 2006.] [Hafstad, Anne. [ Største svindel verden har sett] . Aftenposten, 17 January 2006. In Norwegian.] 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. [Cortez, Michelle Fay. [ Medical Journal Retracts Oral Cancer Studies Linked to Fraud] ., 1 November 2006.]

See also

* "New England Journal of Medicine"
* "Journal of the American Medical Association"
* "The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics"
* "Canadian Medical Association Journal"
* "JAMA"
* "Nature Medicine"
* "British Medical Journal"
* "Annals of Internal Medicine"
* "Archives of Internal Medicine"
* "Journal Watch", sibling publication to "NEJM"
* List of medical journals


External links

* [ The Lancet]
* [ Pubmed search] for Lancet
* [ New Internal Medicine Journals Search Engine]

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