The Trouble with Medical Journals / Edition 1

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Overview


It is a turbulent time for STM publishing. With moves towards open access to scientific literature, the future of medical journals is uncertain and unpredictable. It is the only book of its kind to address this problematic issue. Richard Smith, a previous editor of the British Medical Journal for twenty five years and one of the most influential people within medical journals and medicine depicts a compelling picture of medical publishing. Drawn from the author's own extensive and unrivalled experience in medical publishing, Smith provides a refreshingly honest analysis of current and future trends in journal publishing including peer review, ethics in medical publishing, the influence of the pharmaceutical industry as well as that of the mass media, and the risk that money can cloud objectivity in publishing. Full of personal anecdotes and amusing tales, this is a book for everyone, from researcher to patient, author to publisher and editor to reader. The controversial and highly topical nature of this book, will make uncomfortable reading for publishers, researchers, funding bodies and pharmaceutical companies alike making this useful resource for anyone with an interest in medicine or medical journals.
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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Griffin Trotter, MD, PhD (Saint Louis University)
Description: The book examines ethical and social problems arising in the publication of medical journals. Rich in interesting and pertinent cases drawn from the author's immense experience as editor of one of the world's top medical journals, the book addresses a full gamut of topics, ranging from high-profile issues such as authors' conflicts of interest to less publicized problems such as the failure of medical journals to serve the developing world.
Purpose: The book questions the values that animate and sometimes corrupt medical journals as well as the professional and social roles that medical journals do and should fulfill, and critically assesses problems that arise in fulfilling these roles. It succeeds at each level, exhibiting a degree of comprehensiveness and a depth of insight that are unprecedented in the current literature on these topics.
Audience: The author, who is immensely and almost uniquely qualified to undertake this project, seeks to reach the general public as well as physicians and other medical professionals. Hence, the book is written in non-technical style, accessible to well educated persons who lack medical training.
Features: The book begins with a detailed discussion of issues related to the mission and purpose of medical journals, then proceeds to a detailed discussion of the actual procedures employed by medical journals in peer review, editing, content selection, reporting, and, perhaps most importantly, securing profits. It concludes with thoughtful chapters addressing the social significance and ethical accountability of medical journals. There is a multitude of immensely engaging stories, such that any reader who finishes the book will be up to date on relevant news events. Despite the book's impressive scope, it would be improved if the author devoted a chapter to the manner in which science is skewed — regardless of financial conflicts of interest — when researchers are the primary interpreters of their own data.
Assessment: This is an extremely valuable and uniquely comprehensive account of ethical problems in medical publishing, and is one of the most readable and entertaining books in the field. It is essential reading for anyone who desires to cultivate an understanding of pitfalls pertaining to the generation and marketing of medical knowledge and, thus, seeks to become a more sophisticated consumer of the medical literature.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781853156731
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Smith, Chief Executive, United Healthcare Europe. Former Editor of BMJ and Chief Executive of BMJ Publishing Group

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Table of Contents

SECTION 1: Introduction
1. Introduction: medical journals are probably a force for good but need considerable reform
SECTION 2: The nature of medical journals
2. Why bother with medical journals and whether they are honest?
3. What and who are medical journals for?
4. Can medical journals lead or must they follow?
5. What are and what should be the values of medical journals?
SECTION 3: The processes of pubishing medical research
6. The complexities and confusions of medical science
7. Peer review: a flawed process at the heart of science and journals
SECTION 4: Problems in publishing medical research
8. Research misconduct: the poisoning of the well
9. The death of the author and the birth of the contributor?
10. Publishing too much and nothing: serious problems not just nuisances
11. Conflicts of interest: how money clouds objectivity
12. Editorial misconduct, freedom and accountability: amateurs at work
SECTION 5: Important relationships of medical journals
13. Patients and medical journals: from objects to partners
14. Medical journals and the mass media: moving from love and hate to love
15. Trying to stop failing the developing world
16. Medical journals and pharmaceutical companies: uneasy bedfellows
17. The highly profitable but perhaps unethical business of publishing medical research
SECTION 6: Ethical accountability of researchers and journals
18. Relations between research ethics committees and medical journals: guarding the probity of research
19. Ethical support and accountability for journals: an ombudsman, an ethics committee, and next?
20. Libel and medical journals: proper constraint or against the public interest?
21. The case that concern with ethical issues in publishing medical research is overdone
SECTION 7: The future
22. Ethical manifestos for four different futures for medical publishing
References
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