Monday, July 13, 2009

JAMA follow-up

You might recall my criticism of more or less unprofessional conduct by the Journal of the American Medical Association's current editors. It's a story that began here, continued here, with the last post being this one. Apparently the WALL STREET JOURNAL's health blog (kindly citing my blog) asked JAMA for a reply to the criticism I raised both on this blog as well as on a mailing list of the World Association of Medical Editors. According to the Wall Street Journal's health writers the JAMA editors refused to comment. This is much in line with what I have experienced with re to my open questions on the World Association of Medical Editors' listserv. There has been deafening silence, too. It seems to be the case that JAMA's editors are not accountable to anyone with regard to their conduct. They even get away with rewriting the publishing history of the journal they edit.

As a by-product of their shenanigans they flagged (again) the serious problems the scientific publishing community faces with the dawn of the age of on-line only 'publishing'. With the push of a button, scientific publications that once were can simply be made to disappear (and probably also be changed retrospectively). Scientists who criticise an original paper (as was the case with the JAMA on-line editorial that disappeared into thin air) will look a tad bit daft because the article they commented on has disappeared (presumably a result of the egg-on-editors'-face syndrome...). None of this would be possible with print copy publications!

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