November 05, 2020

Short steps on how to read a paper. Part 1:The Journal

We are going to boost the educational side of this blog.  As a result, we have decided to write a series of short posts that you can read in under two minutes.

Our first series is going to be on how to read a paper. We will start with selecting the Journal. We think that this is important as the numbers of journals is spiralling, and quite a few of these are of limited quality, and a number are predatory ( While predatory journals have not yet infiltrated orthodontics, there are several publications which are non-peer-reviewed and indeed examples of ‘research journals’ produced by dental companies  ( with the possibility of conflicts of interest.

It is not possible to read all the orthodontic papers that are published each year.  You need to be selective. The first stage of this process is to consider the Journal.  I have listed the main ones that I read in the order that I scan them for interesting papers. I have also added some short personal comments about each one.

American Journal of Orthodontics
  • Flagship journal publishing mostly high-quality papers.
  • Produces a wide variety of papers
  • The expertise of sub-editors dealing with subject areas
  • Publishes high-quality trials and systematic reviews
  • Subjectively I think that they have reduced the number of retrospective studies.
  • Not open access, apart from a few papers.


European Journal of Orthodontics
  • Publishes mostly European based research.
  • Trials are small but are of high quality.
  • Recently published some low-quality systematic reviews.
  • Publishes retrospective studies
  • Not open access, apart from a few papers
Angle Orthodontist
  • Open access for all papers, which is excellent.
  • Publish a high volume of papers, and I wonder if this influences the quality?
  • Publishes small randomised trials
  • Still accepts a high number of retrospective studies and this detracts from the overall quality of the Journal.
Journal of Orthodontics
  • UK-based journal publishing research and case reports.
  • Nice journal that I like reading (Conflict of interest: I used to be the editor a long time ago).
  • A few trials, which tend to be small but exciting.
  • There are some retrospective papers, but this appears to be reducing with time.
  • Not open access


Orthodontic and Craniofacial Research

  • Nice small Journal.  I like reading it.
  • Publishes small trials
  • Carries a fair number of basic science papers which I do not have the intelligence to read.
  • No open access


Progress in Orthodontics

  • Open access for all papers, which is excellent.
  • New(ish) journal that is gaining in readership
  • A few small trials published.
  • Publish a few retrospective studies.

Next week we will be looking at how to select a paper to read.

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Have your say!

  1. I think your intention, “Short steps on how to read a paper” is very interesting and I look forward to read your recommendations.
    Most of your recommended journals have an impact factor. Knowing this factor is at least of interest. Besides the listed scientific journals there also are journals particular for “the practitioner”, like JCO, that’s in my opinion also is worth reading or at least browse trough. For a more synoptic view of subjects, I think Seminars in Orthodontics is a good recommendation.

  2. This is an awesome subject. I look forward to the series!

  3. Good so far!

  4. Should have this in uni

  5. No mention of the Korean Journal of Orthodontics ?
    It is open access and depending of the year it can have an impact factor superior to the AJODO.
    Two years ago KJO was ranked above AJODO 🙂

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