10 April 2012

The Problem with Medical Journals

Richard Smith, formerly an editor of the BMJ, is like a human howitzer rightly aimed at medical journals:
The premise for my book was that medical journals were over-influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, too fond of the mass media, and yet neglectful of patients. The research they contained was hard to interpret and prone to bias, while peer review, the process at the heart of journals and all of science, was deeply flawed. Many of the studies journals contained were fraudulent, and yet the scientific community had not responded adequately to the problem of fraud. Editors themselves also misbehaved. The authors of the studies in journals often had little to do with the work they were reporting and many had conflicts of interest that were not declared. And the whole business of medical journals was corrupt because owners were making money from restricting access to important research, most of it funded by public money. All this matters to everybody because medical journals have a strong influence on their healthcare and lives.

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