Overview of the Top Medical Journals

Are you looking for the Top Medical Journals for publishing your research paper? You can read our review of the medical journals with a high impact score.

Remember that each of the Top Medical Journals we have reviewed has specific criteria for publishing research papers. You should read the journal publication requirement before publishing.

So, what are the top medical journals in 2021? Let’s dig in to find out.

Table of Contents

#1. New England Journal of Medicine

(You can see the history of its scientometric data on our database here)

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) is an American peer-reviewed medical journal published weekly. It is the oldest continuously published medical journal[1].

Boston physicists John C. Warren and James Jackson established the journal in 1812.

The original name of the journal was the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery and Collateral Branches of Science. In 1828, the editors of the journal changed the name to Boston Medical and Surgical Journal[2].

In 1928, the Massachusetts Medical Society purchased the journal and renamed it to The New England Journal of Medicine[3].

NEJM publishes research papers in different fields of medicine. It accepts contributions in topics such as health policy, medicine and society, coronavirus, and others. Many notable articles have been published in the journal.

  • Henry Jacob Bigelow published a study in 1846 about the use of ether as surgical anesthetics[4].
  • The notable neurologist C.E. Brown-Sequard published a seminal article in 1872 putting forth the idea that one cerebral hemisphere controls both sides[5].
  •  Sidney Farber published a paper in 1948 reporting promising results regarding the treatment of childhood leukemia[6].
  • In 1981, two seminal articles published in the journal described a rare disease – AIDS[7].

The Top Medical Journals is the top-ranked medical journal based on the impact factor [8]. Authors don’t have to pay a fee for publishing articles[9]. However, it has strict criteria for publication with a rejection rate of 90 percent[10].  

The review duration for the manuscripts is about 14 weeks. The publisher notifies about rejected manuscripts within a day[11].

#2. The Lancet

(You can see the history of its scientometric data on our database here)

The Lancet journal is a British medical journal highly respected in the medical field. It is a peer-reviewed journal published weekly.  

An English surgeon, Thomas Wakely, had established the journal in 1823[12]. Wakely had named the journal after a surgical instrument called the lancet or scalpel[13].

The journal is ranked second among the top medical journals based on the impact factor[14]. It is renowned for publishing ground-breaking discoveries in the medical world.

  • In 1847, Scottish obstetrician James Young Simpson published a research paper in the Lancet that described for the first time the use of chloroform as an anesthetic[15].
  • A Scottish medical professor Joseph Lister published a seminal paper in 1867 arguing for the use of antiseptics in surgery[16].
  • In 1940, a group of researchers had published study findings of penicillin in the Lancet[17]. The paper heralded a modern era of medicine resulting in the use of penicillin as an antibiotic.
  • A group of scientists had published a letter in 2020 in the journal that ended the lab-leak conspiracy theory regarding the origin of the COVID virus[18].
  • In 2018, an article published by the Swiss-UK research team strongly criticized WHO’s report on the therapeutic benefits of homeopathy[19].

The journal accepts research articles, reports, seminars, reviews, and personal views. The average time to publish articles in the journal is 4 weeks[20]. The decision time for rejected manuscripts is about 10 days.

The cost of publishing an article in the Lancet is $5000. The fee is exempted from authors in countries with a low UNDP human development index or that belong to the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiatives (HINARI).

#3. Journal of the American Medical Association

(You can see the history of its scientometric data on our database here)

Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is the world’s most-read general medical journal[21]. The print publication has over 286,000 readers. Moreover, the online publication has more than 1.3 million subscribers.

The American Medical Association (AMA) publishes this journal. It is one of the oldest medical journals in publication since 1883.  The journal is published 48 times a year[22]. All articles published in the medical journal become free after six months.

JAMA is the third-ranked internal medical journal in the world based on the impact factor[23].  

Various notable articles have been published in the journal up-till-date. Former US president Barack Obama had published an article in 2016 titled, United States Health Care Reform: Progress to Date and Next Steps[24].

The cost of publishing the article on JAMA is $3,000. The average time for the decision about a manuscript is 2 days. It takes a further 4 weeks to review the accepted article[25].   

#4. The British Medical Journal

(You can see the history of its scientometric data on our database here)

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) is another peer-reviewed top medical journal. The British Medical Association (BMA) first published the weekly journal in 1840[26]. The original name of the journal was the Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal (PMSJ).  It merged with London’s Journal of Medicine in 1853 and was renamed the British Medical Journal[27]. 

The founder of the BMJ was esteemed medical professionals P. Hennis Green and Robert Streeten of Worcester. Many seminal articles have been published in the medical journal. 

In 1847, Sir James Young Simpson – a famous British anesthetist – had published a paper regarding the administration of undiluted chloroform before surgery[28].  Twenty years later, the BMJ was one of the prestigious medical journals that had published original papers of Joseph Lister about the use of antiseptics in surgery [29]. 

The BMJ was one of the first journals to become fully online in 1998. Originally the publisher made the articles available online for free. But the subscription-based method was introduced in 2005. Today, the BMJ offers free access to individuals from poor countries. 

The fee for publishing in the BMJ is £3000 ($4800) [30]. The average review time for research papers is 48 days.  You will know about the status of your submitted manuscript in 2 days. 

#5. Annals of Internal Medicine

(You can see the history of its scientometric data on our database here)

The American College of Physicians (ACP) first published the Annals of Internal Medicine in 1927. It is today one of the top medical journals with a high impact factor.  

The total readership of the journal is over 161,000 [31]. It is one of the most cited medical journals in the world. 

The online format is published weekly, while the printed version is published monthly.

No fees are charged for publication in the journal [32]. The word limit for academic papers is 3500 words. You will be notified about acceptance or rejection of the paper within 2 weeks of submitting your manuscript. 

Final acceptance of a published paper can take 3 months or more until all revisions are addressed. Authors of high quality-papers seminal papers can request fast-track review that takes 3 weeks and 8 weeks for online and print publications, respectively.  

#6. Nature Microbiology

(You can see the history of its scientometric data on our database here)

Nature Microbiology is a high-impact open access journal. The peer-reviewed journal deals with topics related to microorganisms. You can publish papers related to physiology and cellular biology.  It is an online-only journal issued monthly.

Nature Publishing Group owns this journal. The UK-based journal was launched in 2016. It publishes articles, letter reports, and brief communication reports. The journal also accepts opinions, news articles, and reviews of varying lengths related to microbiology.

Authors can publish papers in the journal through two methods.

Publishing through the traditional method is free. The other method is Open Access for which you have to pay a fee of €9500 Euros – about $11,212[33]. 

The average time from submission to first decision is 8 days, while the average time from submission to acceptance for the journal is about 25 weeks[34].

#7. Nature Communications

(You can see the history of its scientometric data on our database here)

Nature Communication is a bi-monthly medical journal based in the UK. It is another high-impact online journal that belongs to Nature Publishing Group. The peer-reviewed open access journal was first launched in 2010.

The journal publishes high-quality research papers related to multiple fields, including:

  • Medicine, 
  • Biology,  
  • Chemistry, 
  • Physics, and 
  • Earth sciences.

Only scientifically rigorous research papers are accepted. The emphasis is on methodology rather than uniqueness. The fee for publishing in this journal is $5200[35]. 

The average review time for the first decision is about 8 days. The average time from submission to acceptance for the journal is about 29 weeks[36].

#8. Journal of Clinical Investigation

(You can see the history of its scientometric data on our database here)

The Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI) is a top medical journal for biomedical sciences. The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) founded the journal in 1924 [37]. The journal provides free access to all of its articles. 

A notable paper published in the journal includes a seminal article on the distribution and composition of lipoproteins in human serum published in 1955 [38]. Another paper with a high citation is about the culture of human endothelial cells that was published in 1973 [39]. 

In 2003, a seminal article discovered the accumulation of macrophage accumulation in adipose tissue of obese individuals[40]. 

The publication fee for research papers is $4,650 [41]. It has one of the quickest average review times for papers of about two weeks [42].

#9. Mayo Clinic Proceedings

(You can see the history of its scientometric data on our database here)

Mayo Clinic Proceedings is a Dutch-based peer-reviewed journal. It has been published monthly since 1926[43]. Online publication started in 1999[44].

Elsevier BV owns the journal. It is the official journal of Mayo Clinic, which is a US-based nonprofit research firm focusing on clinical practice, education, and research[45, 46].

The topics of the journal include clinical and laboratory medicine, health care policy and economics, medical education, and ethics. Many Nobel Laureates contributed to Mayo Clinic including[47]:

  • Hungarian-born biochemist Albert von Szent Gyorgyi won the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine in 1937.
  • Philip Showalter Hench and Edward Calvin Kendall shared the Nobel Prize in physiology medicine in 1950.  

The publisher accepts papers of the highest research quality. It used to publish the journal in print and digital formats. But print publication ceased in 2020[48].

The publisher offers two choices for authors to publish their Top Medical Journals. The Gold Open Access cost $3300[49]. This option allows authors or funding firms to make their papers accessible for free to the public. The alternative is No Open Access that does not have any publication fee. But only subscribers can access the articles.

The online journal’s acceptance rate is 20 percent. The processing time for accepted articles is about 12 weeks [50].

#10. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

(You can see the history of its scientometric data on our database here)

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology of Metabolism is a peer-reviewed journal that has been in publication since 1952[51]. The US-based journal is the top medical journal for clinical endocrinology and metabolism.

Oxford University Press owns the journal. It is the official journal of the Endocrine Society.

Regular topics in the Top Medical Journals include clinical reviews, clinical trials, best practice guidelines, case seminars, and controversies in clinical endocrinology. It accepts publications related to:

  • Critical evaluation,
  • Discovery, and
  • Experimental medical research.

The Top Medical Journals focuses on novel developments in endocrinology. It publishes articles that enhance knowledge about metabolic disorders. It also deals with the metabolic-endocrine basis of cancer, aging, and heart diseases. 

Publications acceptable for submission include full-length articles, commentaries, and mini-reviews. It also accepts research papers related to clinical best practices and trial results.

You will have to pay $99 per PDF for research articles if you are a member of the Endocrine Society. The cost for non-members is $119 per PDF. The charges for a color diagram are $235 and $735 for members and non-members, respectively [52].  

Final Word

The Top Medical Journals reviewed in this blog post are suitable for doctoral-level research. They are the top medical journals. You can gain wide exposure to your research work by publishing in any of the above Top Medical Journals.

The criteria set by the top medical journals are strict. Your research work must be extraordinary. Consider reading the submission requirements for each Top Medical Journals. This will let you know the quality of work required for submission in the journal.

So, what are you waiting for?

You should roll up your sleeves, and start the spadework required for publishing your paper in the above prestigious Top Medical Journals

Reference


[1].  https://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/20/science/200-years-of-the-new-england-journal-of- medicine.html – NEJM: Oldest continuously published journal.  

[2].  https://www.countway.harvard.edu/chm/rarebooks/exhibits/BML_1805/bml_1805.htm – NEJM: Name changed in 1828.

[3].  http://www.nejm.org/page/about-nejm/history-and-mission – NEJM: New publisher renamed the journal in 1928.

[4].  https://semanticscholar.org/paper/5795ccc3a00a1e70e48cc23d4d72014f4a8d6a03 – NEJM: Henry Jacob Bigelow paper published in 1846 

[5].  https://doi.org/10.1056%2FNEJM187210170871601 – NEJM: C.E. Brown Sequard paper published in 1872.

[6].  https://doi.org/10.1056%2FNEJM194806032382301 – NEJM: Sidney Farber paper published in 1948.

[7].  https://doi.org/10.1056%2FNEJM198112103052402 -NEJM: Seminal paper about AIDS published in 1981. 

[8].  https://nml-uaeu.libguides.com/c.php?g=711298&p=6560347 – NEJM: Top ranked journal based on impact factor.

[9].  https://www.nejm.org/about-nejm/editorial-policies – NEJM: No fees for publication. 

[10].  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3484555 – NEJM: Rejection rate of 90 percent.

[11].  https://scirev.org/journal/new-england-journal-of-medicine/ – NEJM: Average duration of paper review.

[12].  https://www.scijournal.org/impact-factor-of-lancet.shtml – The Lancet: Year established and founder name.

[13].  http://www.thelancet.com/lancet-about – The Lancet: Origin of name of the journal.

[14].  https://nml-uaeu.libguides.com/c.php?g=711298&p=6560347 – The Lancet: Ranking based on impact factor.

[15].  https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(05)62039-9/fulltext – The Lancet: James Young Simpson paper published in 1847.

[16].  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(02)51827-4– The Lancet: Joseph Lister paper published in 1867.

[17].  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/23/5/16-1556_article – The Lancet: Paper on penicillin published in 1940.

[18].  https://www.npr.org/2021/06/17/1007539626/did-covid-19-leak-from-a-lab-a-reporter-investigates-and-finds-roadblocks – The Lancet: A letter from a group of scientists published in 2020 ended lab-leak conspiracy theories about COVID.

[19].  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4183916.stm – The Lancet: A Swiss-UK team paper rejecting findings of WHO about the effects of homeopathy.

[20].  https://www.thelancet.com/lanhae/about – The Lancet:  Average time for reviewing a manuscript.

[21].  https://www.scijournal.org/impact-factor-of-jama-j-am-med-assoc.shtml – JAMA: Most read medical journal.

[22].  https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/pages/for-authors – JAMA: Publication frequency is 48 times a year.

[23].  https://nml-uaeu.libguides.com/c.php?g=711298&p=6560347 – JAMA: The third ranked medical journal based on impact factor.

[24].  https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2016.9797 – JAMA: Barack Obama paper on the US health care reform.

[25].  https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/pages/for-authors – JAMA: Average time for reviewing a manuscript. 

[26].  https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/medical-history/article/p-w-j-bartrip-mirror-of-medicine-a-history-of-the-bmj-london-british-medical-journal-and-oxford-clarendon-press-1990-8vo-pp-xiv-338-illus-3500/3D367164CD3D8AC550FE3B43BF7893E7 – BMJ: Origin of the British Medical Journal.

[27]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/journals/535/#brmedj – BMJ: Merger and rename of the British Medical Journal.

[28]. https://fn.bmj.com/content/86/3/F207 – BMJ: About the publication of famous anesthetist Sir James Young Simpson in BMJ.

[29]. https://www.bmj.com/content/2/351/246 – BMJ: Joseph Lister paper regarding the antiseptics use in surgery.

[30]. https://www.bmj.com/sites/default/files/attachments/resources/2018/05/BMJ-InstructionsForAuthors-2018.pdf – BMJ: Guidance for authors.

[31] https://www.acponline.org/about-acp – Annals of Internal Medicine: Total number of members as of 2021.

[32]. https://www.acpjournals.org/pb-assets/pdf/AnnalsAuthorInfo-1592422097407.pdf – Annals of Internal Medicine: Guidance for authors regarding publishing papers in the journal.

[33].  https://www.nature.com/nmicrobiol/info/publishing-options – Nature Microbiology: Fees for publishing papers.

[34].  https://www.nature.com/nature-portfolio/about/journal-metrics Nature Microbiology: Average time for reviewing a manuscript. 

[35]. https://www.reddit.com/r/AskAcademia/comments/3opfvq/how_does_npg_justify_charging_5200_for_nature/ – Nature Communication: Fees for publishing papers. 

[36]. https://www.nature.com/nature-portfolio/about/journal-metrics – Nature Communication: Average time for reviewing a manuscript. 

[37]. https://www.jci.org/kiosks/about – https://www.jci.org/kiosks/about – Journal of Clinical Investigation: About the journal.

[38]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC438705 – Journal of Clinical Investigation: A seminal article of Havel & Eder published in 1955.

[39]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC302542 – Journal of Clinical Investigation: A seminal article written by Jaffe et al. published in 1973.

[40]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC296995 – Journal of Clinical Investigation: A seminal article written by Weisberg et al. published in 2003.

[41]. https://www.jci.org/kiosks/authors – Journal of Clinical Investigation: Guidelines for authors.

[42]. https://insight.jci.org/articles/view/ – Journal of Clinical Investigation: Average review time of manuscripts.

[43

].  https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/content/aims – Mayo Clinic Proceedings: First print paper published in 1926. 

[44].  https://doi.org/10.4065%2F74.1.104 – Mayo Clinic Proceedings: First online issue published in 1999. 

[45].  https://www.scijournal.org/impact-factor-of-mayo-clin-proc.shtml – Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Official publication of Mayo Clinic

[46].  https://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic/mission-values – Mayo Clinic Proceedings: About Mayo Clinic

[47].  https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(11)61677-7/fulltext– Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Nobel laureate associated with Mayo Clinic.

[48].  https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-proceedings-goes-online-exclusively-in-january/– Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Print publication ended in 2020.

[49].  https://www.elsevier.com/journals/mayo-clinic-proceedings/0025-6196/open-access-options – Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Publication fee of Open Access.

[50].  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538385/ – Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Average time for reviewing publications.

[51]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog?cmd=PureSearch&db=journals&term=”0375362″%5BNLM+ID%5D – JCEM: Year of first publication.

[52]. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/pages/author_guidelines – JCEM: Fees charged for publication.

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