A Corpus-Based Investigation
Edited By Maurizio Gotti
Identity Traits across Genres and Genders
STEFANIA M. MACI 12. Fast-track Publications: The Genre of Medical Research Letters 1. Introduction There is no doubt that, nowadays, medical research is characterized by its ever-increasing speed of progress. This is implicitly confirmed by the proliferation of research articles which in 2010 were published in over 11,700 indexed medical journals (cf. MEDLINE).1 Articles are probably the most important outcome of the research process (Swales 1990); nevertheless, authors who wish to publish their research papers in prestigious international specialized journals are often faced with publishing limitations. The time span between the submission of a pa- per and its publication may be very long. Editors of the most impor- tant international scientific journals have acknowledged the existence of this problem and have decided to solve it by introducing a new type of publication: the Research Letter (henceforth RL), also known as Fast Track, meant to warrant fast dissemination of primary research.2 RLs are not a novelty in the scientific community, given the fact that English scientific societies have traditionally spread scientific knowledge through letter writing ever since the seventeenth century (Gross/Harmon/Reidy 2002: 91; cf. also Gotti/Salager-Meyer 2006: 42-43). The genre of RL we find nowadays, however, does not re- semble the epistolary communication of the seventeenth century: a RL is rather a short research article. A similar genre has already been identified by Hyland (2000: 85) for Physics, Chemistry and Micro- biology only. Yet the scope and purpose of the letters Hyland found 1 Data available at [20/11/ 10...
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