In scientific publishing, the Ingelfinger rule originally stipulated that The New England Journal of Medicine would not publish findings that had been published elsewhere, in other media or in other journals. Many scientific journals followed suit after it was first enunciated in 1969 by Franz J. Ingelfinger. (An earlier version of the policy had been expressed in 1960 by Samuel Goudsmit, editor of the Physical Review Letters, but did not become as well known.) In a defense of the policy, the journal said in an editorial that the practice discouraged scientists from talking to the media before their work was peer reviewed.
The rule was subsequently adopted by several other scientific journals, and shaped scientific publishing ever since. Historically it has also helped to ensure that the journal's content is fresh and does not duplicate content previously reported elsewhere and seeks to protect the scientific embargo system which allows for more accurate reporting on study claims.
The Ingelfinger rule has been seen as having the aim of preventing authors from performing duplicate publications which would unduly inflate their publication record. On the other hand, it has also been stated that the real reason for the Ingelfinger rule is to protect the journals' revenue stream, and with the increase in popularity of preprint servers such as arXiv, figshare, bioRxiv, and PeerJPrePrints many journals have loosened their requirements concerning the Ingelfinger rule.
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