There are many medical and scientific journals but only a few are the most prestigious medical journals. For any area of specialty or field of study, there are most likely multiple publications competing for the title of “go to” authority. So when you are picking out a journal, whether it is as a credible source or as a place to publish your own research, it can be tough to pick the right one. However, over time, certain publications have risen above the rest. These make up our most prestigious medical journals list.

“Prestige” simply means that a particular institution is held in high regard. While an NFL team may have many pro-bowl players or a movie might win a slew of awards, in the world of scientific publishing prestige is generally measured by a score called “impact factor”. Impact factor, basically, means that the work within a particular publication has been referenced by other works in the field. This can be taken as a rough approximation of the journal’s influence, or impact, on the community at large. Impact factors are how we determined the most prestigious medical journals currently.

The most prestigious medical journals – sorted by their most recent impact factor

1) CA – A Cancer Journal for Clinicians


Impact Factor: 223.679


Description: CA is an oncology journal that has been published for the American Cancer society since the 1950s. It is a bimonthly peer-reviewed medical journal published by Wiley-Blackwell. The journal covers aspects of cancer research on diagnosis, therapy, and prevention. This was not what we expected to be at the top of our MOST prestigious medical journals list. Our guess for #1 actually came in as #2.

2) New England Journal of Medicine

ISSN: 0028-4793

Impact Factor: 74.699


Description: The New England Journal of Medicine is the queen of all general medical journals. It is a weekly medical journal published by the Massachusetts Medical Society. It is known as the most prestigious medical journals as well as the oldest continuously published one.

3) The Lancet

The Lancet

ISSN: 0140-6736

Impact Factor: 60.392 


Description: For the last 197 years, The Lancet has been publishing top-tier scientific medical research with the simple goal of improving human lives. It is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is among the world’s oldest and best-known general medical journals. It definitely deserves a place in the top 3 most prestigious medical journals.

4) Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology

nature reviews clinical oncology

ISSN: 1759-4782

Impact Factor: 53.276


Description: Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology publishes up-to-date summaries of the state of cancer research intended for advanced medical audiences.Basically, it is a peer-reviewed journal for oncologists. The journal was renamed from Nature Clinical Practice Oncology in April 2009. Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology is one of eight Clinical Review journals published by the Nature Publishing Group. We thought Nature, not one of the Nature Reviews would be in the top 5 most prestigious medical journals, so this one and the following one and the following 2 were a surprise.

5) Nature Reviews Cancer

nature cancer

ISSN: 1474-175X

Impact Factor: 53.030


Description: Nature Reviews Cancer publishes articles on the modern study of cancer intended for a broad readership. It is still mainly focused on oncologists.

6) Nature Reviews Immunology

ISSN: 1474-1741

Impact Factor: 44.019


Description: Nature Reviews publishes comprehensive surveys of research on all levels of immune response studies. It is a monthly review journal covering the field of immunology. The journal also publishes “Research highlight” articles, which are short summaries written by the editors that describe recent hot research papers.

7) Nature

nature - international journal of science

ISSN: 1476-4687

Impact Factor: 42.778


Description: Nature is a British weekly scientific journal founded and based in London, England. As a multidisciplinary publication, Nature features peer-reviewed research from a variety of academic disciplines, mainly in science, technology, and the natural sciences. This is widely known as one of the most prestigious journals to publish in.

8) Nature Reviews Disease Primers

ISSN:     2056-676X

Impact Factor: 40.689


Description: Nature Reviews Disease Primers publishes introductory articles outlining medicine’s current understanding of any one, specific condition from any medical field. Basically, it is a peer-reviewed medical journal publishing broad review articles about disease areas, offering a global overview of the field and outlining “key open research questions”. 

9) World Psychiatry

World Psychiatry

ISSN: 1723-8617

Impact Factor: 40.595


Description: As the official journal of the world psychiatric organization, World Psychiatry aims to communicate significant psychological research findings to the world. It is the official publication of the World Psychiatric Association. It is published by Wiley-Blackwell and the Editor-in-chief is Mario Maj.

10) Cell


ISSN: 1097-4172

Impact Factor: 38.637


Description: Cell is a peer-reviewed scientific journal publishing research papers across a broad range of disciplines within the life sciences. This one is no surprise in the top 10 most prestigious journals.

11) Nature Medicine

Nature Medicine

ISSN: 1078-8956

Impact Factor: 36.130


Description: Nature Medicine focuses on publishing the evidence for and impact of cutting-edge insight into disease processes. It is a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal publishing research articles, reviews, news and commentaries in the biomedical area, including both basic research and early-phase clinical research covering all aspects of medicine.

12) Nature Reviews Microbiology

nature reviews microbiology

ISSN: 1740-1534

Impact Factor: 34.209


Description: Nature Reviews Microbiology publishes work on the current state of the field of microbiology intended for the widest possible readership.It is a peer-reviewed review journal published by the Nature Publishing Group. It publishes reviews and perspectives on microbiology, bridging fundamental research and its clinical, industrial, and environmental applications.

13) The Lancet Oncology

The Lancet Oncology

ISSN: 1470-2045

Impact Factor: 33.752


Description: The Lancet Oncology specializes in clinical oncology and pays special attention to articles that suggest changes in cancer treatment best practices.

14) Nature Reviews Genetics

Nature Reviews Genetics


Impact Factor: 33.133


Description: Nature Reviews Genetics is a journal of reviews covering the latest advances in the expansive field of genetics. It is a monthly review journal in genetics and covers the full breadth of modern genetics. The journal publishes review and perspective articles written by experts in the field subject to peer review and copy editing to provide authoritative coverage of topics.

15) Journal of Clinical Oncology 

Journal of Clinical Oncology


Impact Factor: 32.956


Description: The Journal of Clinical Oncology publishes any and all top-tier cancer research. It is a peer-reviewed medical journal published 3 times a month by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. It covers research on all aspects of clinical oncology. All articles older than one year are freely available online.

16) The Lancet Neurology

The Lancet Neurology

ISSN: 1474-4465

Impact Factor: 30.039


Description: The Lancet Neurology publishes reviews and cutting-edge articles on any topic in the field of neurology.

17) Cancer Cell

Cancer Cell

ISSN: 1535-6108

Impact Factor: 26.602


Description: Cancer Cell publishes advances in traditional and translational oncological research at the cellular level. It is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by Cell Press. It covers all aspects of cancer research at the cellular-level. The journal was established in February 2002 and the editor-in-chief is Li-Kuo Su. 

18) Physiological Reviews

Psyhological Reviews

ISSN: 1522-1210

Impact Factor: 25.588


Description: Physiological Reviews publishes comprehensive, timely reviews on a wide variety of topics in the field of medical physiology.

19) The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology

The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology

ISSN: 2213-8595

Impact Factor: 25.340


Description: The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology publishes articles outlining ongoing work in the field of endocrinology.

20) The Lancet Infectious Diseases

The Lancet Infectious Diseases

ISSN: 1474-4457 

Impact Factor: 24.446


Description: The Lancet Infectious Disease publishes nearly any information that might be of interest to clinicians involved in the study of infectious disease.

21) Accounts of Chemical Research

Accounts of Chemical Research

ISSN: 0001-4842

Impact Factor: 21.661


Description: Accounts of Chemical Research features to-the-point descriptions of laboratory chemical research.

22) Immunity


ISSN: 1097-4180

Impact Factor: 21.522


Description: Immunity publishes any high quality research that pertains to the field of immunology.

23) Annual Review of Immunology

Annual Review of Immunology

ISSN: 1545-3278

Impact Factor: 20.760


Description: Annual Review of Immunology concentrates on the human immune system and its response to a wide variety of challenges.

24) Journal of the American College of Cardiology



Impact Factor: 18.639

Description: The JACC publishes research pertaining to pathologies of the heart and circulatory system.

25) Acta Neuropathologica

Acta Neuropathologica


ISSN: 0001-6322

Impact Factor: 18.174

Description: Acta Neuropathologica strives to publish the very best, well-validated neurological disease research available.

Conclusion – submitting to the most prestigious medical journals

Whenever writing a paper to submit to one of the most prestigious medical journals, make sure to have other scientists read your paper and give feedback. If your budget allows, consider an objective professional medical editor. Contact us for a price quote to help with your paper. We offer writing, critiquing, editing and formatting for the journal.

You can also check some of our medical-related press releases here.