2 Minute Medicine® Medical Journal Power Rankings™ – Best Medical Journals

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After publishing over 7,000 physician-written medical reports, we at 2 Minute Medicine® think we have a feeling for the best of the best. As the leading peer-reviewed medical news source for physicians and the public alike, we weigh the quality of the evidence that we cover, rating every article using validated evidence-rating guidelines.

There’s more to measuring the Power Rank of a medical journal in the digital age however – viewership, engagement (that is, do readers simply read one article and leave or do they continue reading?), social media leverage, web penetration, and much more. Here are the top performers of Q1 2019.

Journals on the Q1 2019 Power Rankings can obtain their web-badge by emailing info@2minutemedicine.com.

The top spot belongs to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), published by the Massachusetts Medical Society. Though it trails several top journals in readership, raking in about 1.5 million unique readers per month, their quality of output continues to be unmatched. As the most-cited journal (Impact Factor 79.3) and having published the most practice-changing studies in recent memory (see Classics Quotient™ and citations in the Classics in Medicine), the journal earned the top spot. While they had an uncharacteristic start to 2019 with 3 retractions/corrections, look for NEJM to continue to bolster its social media efforts and web penetration, tighten its peer-review, leveraging their various brands and focus on trainees.

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Coming in 2nd is Nature, the everything-medicine journal, published by Springer. Despite not being a traditional clinical journal, they dominate readership with 6.6 million unique readers per month and are among the most engaging journals (2.4 reads/user). Many argue it’s hard to top their value in the medical realm, although their articles focus on a mix of basic science and clinical medicine. The most widely linked journal on the internet, Nature’s only fault seems to be their production of bonafide classics, as indicated by the impact factor lag between it and top earner NEJM, likely related to the latter’s focus on clinical literature. Look for Nature to continue its incredible output and dominating social media presence in the future.

Not to be forgotten, commanding the 3rd spot is Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. With an expansive readership tallying 4.1 million unique readers per month, Science, like Nature, garners its reach from a mix of basic and clinical medicine. Their largest strength at the moment seems to be their social media leverage, as they attract the largest percent of their readers from social media than any other journal.

Founded in 1840, don’t let the date fool you. The British Medical Journal (BMJ), published by the BMJ Publishing Group, BMJ may be one of the most dynamic journal properties and earns the 4th spot. Only behind Nature and Science in readership at 2.9 million readers per month, the BMJ is strengthened by their various sub-specialty journals, including their recent release of BMJOpen. The journal is pioneering user-centric design on the web and has made waves with their open-access efforts. For the BMJ to move up the ranks, they will need to hit one or two practice-changing studies to up their Classics Quotient™.

Rounding out the top 5 is Public Library of Science (PLOS) Medicine, a newcomer to the scene in 2004. Created by the pioneer behind the open-access publishing movement, PLOS, they’ve enjoyed exponential increases in readership since inception, and currently top out at 2.7 million readers/month, besting both NEJM and JAMA. Keeping PLOS Medicine from the top spots are a distinct lack of practice-changing publications, reflected in their low Classics Quotient™, and middle of the road social media and web penetration efforts. PLOS Medicine can surpass the BMJ by focusing on social media outreach and high-value literature.


“Monthly Readers” is the number of unique readers per month.

“Articles Read per Reader” reflects the number of articles each reader reads, on average, during each visit to the journal. This can be thought of as a measure of how engaging the content presented is.

Classics Quotient™” is a 2 Minute Medicine metric aimed at discerning the contribution of the journal to practice-changing landmark literature, as cited online and in the Classics in Medicine reference text.

“Social Media Leverage Rank” is a conglomerate measure of the number of followers a journal has and the percentage of referrals to their articles made through social media, analyzing how the journal leverages its reach to its advantage.

“Web Penetration Rank” is a measure of the number of links back to various article’s published by the journal, and reflects how deep the journal has penetrated into the internet.

“Publisher” is the publishing company that owns the journal.

“Number of Retractions or Corrections since 2017” are the number of retractions or corrections issued after publication by the journal, a rough measure of reliability and peer-review rigor.

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©2019 2 Minute Medicine, Inc. All rights reserved. No works may be reproduced without expressed written consent from 2 Minute Medicine, Inc. Inquire about licensing here. No article should be construed as medical advice and is not intended as such by the authors or by 2 Minute Medicine, Inc.