Venerated medical journal under attack

File:FileStack.jpgWhat’s hot? What’s not?/Niklas Bildhauer, Wikimedia  By the rubes and the boobs and the bubbas, right? No, actually.

From Charles Ornstein at Pacific Standard:

A widely derided editorial, a controversial series of articles, and delayed corrections have prompted critics to question the direction of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In a widely derided editorial earlier this year, Dr. Jeffrey M. Drazen, the Journal’s editor-in-chief, and a deputy used the term “research parasites” to describe researchers who seek others’ data to analyze or replicate their studies, which many say is a crucial step in the scientific process. And last year, the Journal ran a controversial series saying concerns about conflicts of interest in medicine are oversimplified and overblown. More.

The internet has, as so often, upended everything.

It enables researchers to publish and be damned (or not), something one couldn’t really do before in science.

It also raises the question whether publicly funded research shouldn’t be free to everyone (public access). In the days of print, that would have been only a theoretical issue.

The question with science publishing is how to subvert clique control without inviting public pressure group control, which would probably be worse for quality.

See also: Pirated research papers: Third world access vs copyright


NYT: Biologists go rogue Nobelist Randy Shekman was a pioneer of this trend. He just told off the journals after his Nobel because he no longer needs them.

  • It’s all a bit Wizard like.

  • Hard Little Machine

    Most research you hear about in the news is a meta analysis of data other people have collected for other purposes. There’s little in the way of verification of the data and it certainly wasn’t gathered for the purpose of the study being trotted out at the time.

    • dance…dancetotheradio

      I can’t remember the source.
      But, once when I was a kid I read a book where the kid was explaining to his Dad how such and such magazine was a really great source of information on how to deal with something or other.
      His Dad told him that the reason for magazines was to get you to buy their magazine.
      I think I stopped reading magazines after that.
      Like Omni, Psychology Today and Rolling Stone.
      Things I used to waste my money on because I like to read…

  • David Smith

    I’m less and less inclined to believe anything said by so-called experts. Everything is politicized to the hilt.

  • Journals are a racket, a bit like a priesthood that decides what’s kosher or not. The problem with this is that those “priests” are not necessarily brainy enough to know the difference.