Paper of the Month: the philosophy behind the competition

Research generates new scientific findings –and thus progress. In medicine, this progress has a concrete goal: it should benefit patients. Novel findings should ultimately lead to improved diagnostics, new therapies or new drugs.

In order for this to function, a "transmission belt" is required: the publication of newly acquired knowledge in scientific journals ("papers"). This leads to the dissemination of such knowledge into the scientific community and implements the requirement of any research to be transparent and verifiable. In this sense, publications represent a scientific "currency" for the performance of each university and research institution.

The Medical Faculty of the University of Münster is proud that its scientists make an annual contribution of around 800 publications to the advancement of medical knowledge, ranging from concise essays to extensively specialized text books. Scientific publications from Münster appear in world-renowned journals such as "Nature", "New England Journal of Medicine" or "Lancet" on a regular basis. Yet, especially in this age of ever more economized science and the trend to "rank" everything, it should not be forgotten that the advancement of knowledge cannot be measured solely by "impact factor" (IF) and citation. As journals with the highest IF often have a limited range of publication topics, entire subjects are neglected. Conversely, although a scientific breakthrough for a rare disease may affect only a few hundred people around the world, it’s discovery is worth more than any impact factor.

With the "Paper of the Month", the Faculty of Medicine is taking a different approach. The award is designed to showcase and appreciate the outstanding research continually generated by its approximately 2,000 scientists and researchers, which is documented through publication. The award is intended to select a publication, which has for various reasons come to the attention of the Dean's Office and present it to the faculty as well as the general public. Selection criteria beyond the IF are also explicitly the originality of the work, relevance of the findings and the significance these findings have for our community.

"Paper of the Month" can be awarded to a scientific paper published in the respective month from one or more members of the Faculty of Medicine; for further information concerning the nomination procedure, see the faculty's intranet.  The most current “Paper of the Month” and a list of all previous POMs  can be found here.

We wish you success with your application.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Mathias Herrmann