Journal editor facing axe

Elsevier has asked the editor-in-chief of its only non-peer-reviewed journal, linkurl:Medical Hypotheses,;http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/623059/description to either resign immediately or implement a series of changes, including a traditional peer-review system. Image: flicker/linkurl:meviola;http://www.flickr.com/photos/69659670@N00/ The journal's editor-in-chief linkurl:Bruce Charlton;http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/publicity/dofe/charlton.html told The Scientist tha

By | March 8, 2010

Elsevier has asked the editor-in-chief of its only non-peer-reviewed journal, linkurl:Medical Hypotheses,;http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/623059/description to either resign immediately or implement a series of changes, including a traditional peer-review system.
Image: flicker/linkurl:meviola;http://www.flickr.com/photos/69659670@N00/
The journal's editor-in-chief linkurl:Bruce Charlton;http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/publicity/dofe/charlton.html told The Scientist that such changes are "vehemently opposed" by the editorial advisory board, as well as at least 150 scientists who have published in the journal. Elsevier has given him until next Monday (March 15) to respond, and he said he is still contemplating his decision. In addition to instituting a peer-review system, an external advisory board assembled by Elsevier also recommends that articles on controversial subjects, such as any that support racism, not be considered for publication. Elsevier has also given Charlton notice that his contract will be "terminated" at the end of this year, Charlton said. "My understanding is that Elsevier will indeed appoint a new editor and make the changes while keeping the same title," he explained, a move that he considers "dishonest" and "unethical." "The editorial advisory board and I agree that we would much rather the title expired altogether, than that an 'anti-Medical Hypotheses' journal continued to trade on its past reputation," Charlton wrote in an email. Medical Hypotheses has been in hot water since earlier this year, after AIDS researchers complained about an article it ran by AIDS denialist Peter Duesberg. The journal currently aims to publish provocative papers, which are selected by Charlton. Editor's note: Elsevier responded to The Scientist after the publication of this story acknowledging that it had accepted the external panel's recommendations for the journal. The publisher also clarified that should Charlton stay with the journal for the immediate future, his contract would not be renewed at the end of the year, as opposed to "terminated" before its completion.
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Radical journal gathers support;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/57190/
[ 26th February 2010]*linkurl:Radical journal's fate at risk;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/57121/
[27th January 2010]*linkurl:Elsevier published 6 fake journals;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55679/
[7th May 2009]*linkurl:Journal plays with peer review;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55394/
[3rd February 2009]

Comments

Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

March 8, 2010

Supporters of leaving Medical Hypotheses free to publish papers with no peer review often say that peer review will eliminate publication of important ideas. It would help if they could provide one or two examples of papers published in Medical Hypotheses in the past, which have been proven to be important with follow-up research.
Avatar of: tom reller

tom reller

Posts: 2

March 8, 2010

The following is the statement Elsevier sent to The Scientist. \n\n\nElsevier regrets that Professor Charlton declined each of our offers to discuss the Journal?s future with him. We have sought his input on more than a few occasions; he has not yet chosen to engage in discussion. We would still welcome his choice to work for the Journal through the remainder of the year if he desires. At some point, though, we need to make a decision, which is what prompted our most recent letter. \n
Avatar of: ROBERT HURST

ROBERT HURST

Posts: 31

March 8, 2010

It seems to me that peer review need not be inconsistent with the stated purposes of the journal. Peer review might even enhance the journal's usefulness, provided that referees could be found who could divorce themselves sufficiently from ideas of scientific orthodoxy to review contrary articles. One major function could be to present problems with currently accepted hypotheses to focus research and to bring into the open controversies that might suggest current theories are incomplete, if not incorrect.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 107

March 9, 2010

I have a hard time seeing the reaction of Elsevier as anything but cowardly. But, they own the journal and the title. If Charlton and his editorial advisory board are committed to publishing controversy, they need to break away and start their own journal, maybe called "Biomedical Hypotheses", or following the trend toward one-word journal titles, perhaps simply "Wacko".
Avatar of: null null

null null

Posts: 4

March 9, 2010

Science advances by testing hypotheses. Hypotheses making must not be manipulated by any political or economical lobby. If the hypotheses are true and contend with the politically correct, then damn this latter one. Let's remember that some apparently crazy or defiant ideas like Copernicus's and Galileo's heliocentrism were later proven to be true.\nThis is a case of freedom of speech against the politically correctness. Unhappilly, we know who's going to win...\n\nJosé Ferreira da Silva, DVM, PhD
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 182

March 9, 2010

\nSound and rigorous scientific peer review are not in opposition of *Freedom of speech against political correctness*. On the contrary, it should help prevent manipulation of medical prediction testing to serve the people?s interests as opposed to benefiting restrictive economic, political or philosophical interests. \n\nPeer review is not simply a "traditional" way of doing/building science. Peer review is intrinsic to the scientific process since objectivity does not belong to any particular individual or group. It is continuously constructed through and by the interaction of multiple experimental and conceptual perspectives.\n\nFreedom of speech against political correctness includes that Professor Charlton and followers continue their task of advancing medical thinking at their own expense. Truth is not cheap and time always tells who is/was on the authentic side of science.\n
Avatar of: Tom Hennessy

Tom Hennessy

Posts: 65

March 11, 2010

It doesn't make sense that a medical journal based on the premise of a .. hypothesis .. NEEDS a peer review committee. \nIF these researchers had any idea at all about what the hypothesis was about THEY would have advanced the hypothesis. \nSince THEY didn't advance the hypothesis means THEY couldn't come UP .. with .. ? .. the hypothesis therefore leaving them in the position of having NO INPUT AT ALL into the hypothesis ..\nOr more .. succinctly .. the person who PUT FORTH the .. UNIQUE hypothesis .. therefore by the hypothesis itself .. he HAS no .. 'peers' ..\nJust logical ..\nImho ..
Avatar of: samuel milham

samuel milham

Posts: 1

March 11, 2010

I'm a medical epidemiologist with over 100 peer reviewed papers and have served as a reviewer for many journals. I have had papers reviewed by "peers" who didn't understand the subject. I also rejected a paper,and later found my rejection analysis incorporated word for word in a published paper with a different title.\n Beginning in 1999, I had a paper rejected by 5 peer-reviewed jounals. A former editor of one of the journals that rejected the paper thought it was being rejected because of the subject , and suggested Medical Hypotheses. It was finally pulished in 2001 in Dr Horrobin's tenure. Since then, I have published 4 papers in MH on the health effects of electromagnetic fields that were rejected elsewhere. I conclude that cell phone and utility industry money has somehow corrupted the publication process. For me,MH is the only publication outlet for important new work. \n I deeply resent and regret Elsiever's decision to ruin an important journal. Samuel Milham MD
Avatar of: Tom Hennessy

Tom Hennessy

Posts: 65

March 12, 2010

This would depend what one might consider to be 'proven'.\nMedical Hypotheses is 'supposed to be' a journal in which a hypotheses is put forward in which OTHERS can take and run with an 'idea'.\nIF that was the intention then this could be considered a positive.\nPhytic acid is an iron chelator.\nTherefore the FACT it has been shown to have an effective USE in allergy one might consider the hypotheses being somewhat PROVEN.\nImho ..\n\nExcess dietary iron is the root cause for increase in childhood Autism and \nallergies. \nMed Hypotheses. 2003 Aug;61(2):220-2.\nPadhye U. \n----------\n\nEffects of phytic Acid on peanut allergens and allergenic properties \nof extracts. \nJ Agric Food Chem. 2007 Oct 31;55(22):9054-8. Epub 2007 Oct 10.\nChung SY, Champagne ET. \nApplication of phytic acid to a peanut butter slurry presented a \nsimilar result, indicating that phytic acid may find use in the \ndevelopment of hypoallergenic peanut-based products. \n\nPMID: 17927201
Avatar of: Tom Hennessy

Tom Hennessy

Posts: 65

April 2, 2010

After the headline "Merck paid Elsevier to create fake medical journal" one might wonder WHY someone would continue to work for them anyhow.\nIt would be BETTER all around if we just treat Elsevier as criminals and use alternative journals such as the one below.\nImho ..\n \nhttp://www.hypothesisjournal.com/index.php/main \n\nHypothesis\n\nA Journal for the Discussion of Science\n\nMission: To elicit healthy scientific thought by disseminating stimulating and novel scientific progress and hypotheses in any field.\n\nExplanation: Hypothesis invites authors to submit new and thought-provoking predictions based on scientific findings or theories from any field. We aim to establish an interdisciplinary journal that swiftly publishes new, provocative, and sometimes currently untestable ideas, while preserving the free-thinking nature of the earliest scientific publications. Thus, Hypothesis favours publication of articles that go beyond reporting data or summarizing a body of work, providing a vessel for thoughtful speculation and healthy debate where authors can freely articulate their most exciting ideas. Moreover, by challenging authors to create intriguing hypotheses concerning their reviewed or original research, Hypothesis is committed to publishing entertaining articles suitable for all readers.\n\nAll works published in Hypothesis are open access, subject to the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. ISSN 1710-338X (print), ISSN 1710-3398 (online). This site is powered by OJS.\n

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