Thursday, November 23, 2006

Editorial woes at the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research

I have a very old fashioned idea - that Medical Journal Editors should go about their business with as much objectivity and integrity as possible. They should act in the interests of the patients we serve. The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research (JBMR) is seeking a new editor to replace Professor John A. Eisman, MBBS, Ph.D. To apply, see here.

Editors wanting hints as to how to react when approached with concerns about research misconduct involving a major pharmaceutical sponsor and fellow friendly scientists, see the John A. Eisman approach. First try protracted delay. Then try meaningless gibberish, followed by excuses (or exasperation) when asked to reply properly. Then edit a letter of concern to remove all content, and offer to publish it giving a pharmaceutical company the right to respond. Express surprise when the offer is refused. Then decline to review any evidence at all, offering lame excuses. Decline to read statistical reports. Decline to read correspondence relating to denial of access to data. Decine to read anything relating to the concerns raised. Then suggest that those implicated will arrange for the concerns to be addressed. Good trick! It is always a good idea to address concerns that are different from those raised. When the matter reaches the press, write statements so at variance with your previous correspondence that it is hard not to laugh out loud. For collated correspondence and press statements see here. For press see here.

Will the JBMR eventually publish the truth about these three publications and how they came to be? Perhaps not. But then - who cares. Third rate conflicted medical journals that snuggle up to vested interests are steadily losing relevance.

Perhaps the new editor will join me in calling for Procter and Gamble to allow authors (including myself as first author of two of the three intended P&G publications) to make the raw data from the three publications publicly available. So far P&G have declined to allow that. I wonder why that might be?

Alternatively perhaps Professor John A. Eisman would care to perform a teensy tiny statistical analysis himself. He might even consider reading the statistical reports he was offered. Perhaps he would even care to review the evidence with me. Of course there is nothing whatever to hide Professor Eisman - or is there...

Cowardice asks: Is it safe?
Expediency asks: Is it politic?
But Conscience asks: Is it right?"
(William Punshon)

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Anonymous said...

Shining sunlight on cockroaches.

Very succinctly summarised, very retired. I agree entirely.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sending this link, and the GMC correspondence from Eastell Aubrey. As you say "the problem is that no-one comments, and those in positions of authority are are protected by a network of powerful colleagues." So I'm commenting. As you say in your letter "I am ashamed of my profession". I am too.

In solidarity