A trade magazine, or trade rag, also called a professional magazine, is a magazine published with the intention of target marketing to a specific industry or type of trade. The collective term for this area of publishing is the trade press.
Trade magazines typically contain advertising content centered on the industry in question with little if any general-audience advertising. They also generally contain industry-specific job notices, a highly pertinent aspect to many readers. Some trade magazines operate under controlled circulation, meaning the publisher decides who may receive free subscriptions based on each individual's qualification as a member of the trade. This allows a high level of certainty that advertisements will be received by the advertiser's target audience.
Relationship to peer-reviewed journals
In some instances, the boundary between trade publication and peer-reviewed journal has blurred. One such example is BioTechniques, which contains peer-reviewed technical reports and technology reviews while containing heavy advertising content, a significant proportion of the articles being authored by or in collaboration with vendors who advertise in the same issue.
The Australasian Journal of Bone & Joint Medicine (originally titled the Australasian Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine) was a periodical presented in the style of a scientific journal, published by Elsevier but established and funded by pharmaceutical company Merck. Publication began in 2002, and the last known issue appeared in 2005. According to The Scientist:
Merck paid an undisclosed sum to Elsevier to produce several volumes of [Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine], a publication that had the look of a peer-reviewed medical journal, but contained only reprinted or summarized articles—most of which presented data favorable to Merck products—that appeared to act solely as marketing tools with no disclosure of company sponsorship.
- Gillian Page, Robert Campbell, Arthur Jack Meadows (1997). Journal Publishing. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-44137-4.
- Periodical Publishers Association (UK): "Controlled & Paid Circulation"
- "Australasian journal of musculoskeletal medicine.". Catalogue. State Library of New South Wales. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
- "Australasian journal of bone & joint medicine.". Catalogue. State Library of New South Wales. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
- Salamander Davoudi; Andrew Jack (May 6, 2009). "Elsevier admits journal error". Financial Times (London). ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved Nov 20, 2009.
- Lamb, Tom (Apr 30, 2009). "The Tale Of Merck's Fake Medical Journal As Told At A Vioxx Trial In Australia". Retrieved Nov 20, 2009.
- Grant, Bob (Apr 30, 2009). "Merck published fake journal". The Scientist. Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. Retrieved Nov 20, 2009.
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