Re: Medical journals are dead. Long live medical journals

From: Marvin <physchem_at_EARTHLINK.NET>
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 08:46:04 -0500

---- Original Message -----
From: Stevan Harnad <>
Sent: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 5:47 AM
Subject: Re: Medical journals are dead. Long live medical journals

> On Mon, 28 Feb 2000, Albert Henderson wrote:
> > There are many differences between bioscience and
> > physics. The most important is is the problem of
> > (and sensitivity to) conflict of interest. The
> > commercial opportunities available for quack health
> > remedies, devices, and preventions are huge. The health
> > audience, which includes physicians and consumers, is
> > large and naive. There is also a mass media eagerly
> > waiting to amplify the thinnest correlation into "tips"
> > that can attract readers and viewers. Health claims can
> > be made on the basis of poor experimental work and
> > unsupportable theories. Physicists, who have little to
> > sell, often rely on mathematical proofs that make their
> > work more reliable even if it may be less useful and
> > interesting to the general public.
> So biomedical science, which its researchers give away for free for all,
> exactly as physical scientists do, should continue to be held hostage to
> access-blocking tolls, because there's money to be made there...
> (Money for whom? And of what benefit to science and scientists?)

That's a distortion of what Henderson wrote. The money is made by medical
quacks, who usually are not scientists and only sometimes are physicians.
The harm is to the public, and there is no benefit to scientists other than
the few who are medical quacks.

There are already some medical journals that cater to the health-care
fringes of dubious scientific merit. I won't be specific in order to avoid
flames, but I observed this when looking into the merit of a new medical
treatment that involves equipment made by a few companies and sold to
patients. The medical literature in support of the treatment was
concentrated in one journal, and most of the papers were by people on the
editorial board.
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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