As editor of the New England Journal of Medicine for more than a decade, Arnold S. Relman has played a significant role in setting publication standards for scientific journals. He champions the “Ingelfinger rule”promulgated by his predecessor, Franz Ingelfinger, which bars contributors from publicizing their articles before publication in the Journal. He also has strongly supported embargoes that permit reporters to receive advance copies of scientific journals on condition that they withhold any resulting news stories until a specified time.

Such policies have been challenged recently In its January 28 issue, the Journal published results of a clinical trial indicating that male physicians who took an aspirin every other day had fewer heart attacks than colleagues who took a placebo. The Reuters news agency ran a story on the study before the release date; Relman responded by suspending the wire service’s special airmail subscription for six months.

Q: Was there...

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