In scientific publishing, the Ingelfinger rule stipulates 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. 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 double 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, bioRχiv, and PeerJPrePrints many journals have loosened their requirements concerning the Ingelfinger rule.
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- Altman, LK (1996). "The Ingelfinger rule, embargoes, and journal peer review–Part 1". The Lancet 347 (9012): 1382–6. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(96)91016-8. PMID 8637347.
- Relman, AS (1981). "The Ingelfinger Rule". The New England Journal of Medicine 305 (14): 824–6. doi:10.1056/NEJM198110013051408. PMID 7266634.
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- Harnad, S (2000). "Ingelfinger Over-Ruled: The Role of the Web in the Future of Refereed Medical Journal Publishing". The Lancet Perspectives 356: s16. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(00)92002-6.
- White, E (2014). "Why the Ecology Letters editorial board should reconsider its No vote on preprints". Jabberwocky Ecology.
- Desjardins-Proulx, P; White, EP; Adamson, JJ; Ram, K; Poisot, T; Gravel, D (2013). "The Case for Open Preprints in Biology". PLoS Biology 11 (5): e1001563. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001563. PMID 23690752.
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