Friday, December 30, 2005

1958 Mere Magazines

In today's Wall Street Journal Dr. Thomas P. Stossel of Harvard Medical School takes on the hypocrisy of some of the top medical and science journals. Recently, some high profile U.S. journals like JAMA, NEJM, and Science have been caught with their data down, publishing articles from India, China and Korea ranging from cloning to stem cell research to nutrition after heart attacks that would never meet FDA scrutiny in the USA because of the limited clinical trials and bad data. His gripe with these journals' editors is that they quick to criticize the pharmaceuticals (i.e. big business that took the risks) but seem to be blind to the power trail in academe or their own flubs.

"Many [academics] would run over their grandmothers to claim priority for a discovery, impose their pet theory on the field, obtain a research grant, win an award or garner a promotion. . . We exercise our ambitions by publishing research papers in journals."

And he concludes: "If reporters understood that journals are magazines, not Holy Scripture. . ." Oh I love that.

I can't find a free link to Dr. Stossel's article, but here's one he wrote for Forbes with similar information and different details called "Free the Scienctists."

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