A medical-publishing tradition – Business & Innovation


In June 1812, a bloody war was fought between the US and the United Kingdom over the issue of a naval blockade and maritime trade. Just five months earlier, a journal now known as the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) appeared that has since become one of the world’s most reputable publications in general medicine and the oldest one to be continuously published.

Producing a prestigious magazine (originally quarterly and then weekly) for 205 years is an impressive achievement, all the more so a journal that attempts to report to professionals the latest and most accurate information in the constantly changing field of medicine.

The New England Journal of Medicine, published by the Massachusetts Medical Society, was launched in September 1811 when a Boston doctor named John Collins Warren and James Jackson, submitted a formal prospectus to establish the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery and Collateral Branches of Science as a magazine on medicine and philosophy. In January, the first issue was published.

In 1823, the Boston Medical Intelligencer appeared, but when four years later it accumulated debts, the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery and the Collateral Branches of Medical Science bought in it and merged it in February 1828 to form the weekly Boston Medical and Surgical Journal.

The Massachusetts Medical Society purchased it in 1921 and renamed it seven years later as the New England Journal of Medicine. The journal’s logo includes the Rod of Asclepius – the snake-entwined rod carried by the Greek god Asclepius connected to healing – and the dates corresponding to the different stages in the journal’s publication.

The weight of history bears down on the shoulders of NEJM editor-inchief Prof. Jeffrey M. Drazen, who has just made a visit to Israel. He was here to participate in the Rambam Medical Center’s annual “Rambam Summit” along with Prof. Richard…

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