16 Jan 2010

Reviewing Medical Hypotheses

This is a guest post by Joe Dunckley
Zoë Corbyn writes in the Times Higher this week that Elsevier have "started an internal review" of legendary journal Medical Hypotheses following its publication last year of two hiv/aids denialism papers (covered in Bad Science here and Respectful Insolence here). One of the offending papers, lead-authored by notorious aids denialist Peter Duesberg, took an entire two days from submission to acceptance by the peer review shunning "journal", and had already been rejected from all of the real hiv/aids journals for making such embarrassing claims as that Uganda's population increase proves that hiv can not cause aids.

It would be a shame to loose the journal that gave us Ejaculation as a potential treatment of nasal congestion in mature males and the equally entertaining response, Ejaculation as a treatment for nasal congestion in men is inconvenient, unreliable and potentially hazardous, but at the same time, we have to consider whether we are really comfortable continuing to humour the confused outbursts of Bruce Charlton.

It's interesting to note that the best defence for the journal's existence that Corbyn could find was this: "while peer review worked for 'normal science', it also had the power to suppress radical ideas." The defence comes from intelligent design creationist Steve Fuller, whose ideas I don't think even Med Hypotheses sunk as low as publishing.


pj said...

I don't think there is any problem with Medical Hypotheses if we understand that it is essentially LM/spiked for the medical community. The problem is that, for some reason I am quite unable to fathom, medline decided to list it. This means that publication in Medical Hypotheses gets you listed right in there on a pubmed search with the real science.

The solution is obvious, delist the 'journal' and people can continue to treat it like a year round version of the Christmas editions of the BMJ.

Matt Hodgkinson said...

This comment was left by "Steve10026". I'm reposting with the spam link removed, as I was interested to see the subtlety of it:

Imagine my surprise when the Peter Duesberg link went to a wiki article on Wikipedia. Although this infamous aids denialist has a very prominent wiki article, it only served to bring about my great disbelieve; although Duesberg is entitled to his opinion, I cannot believe he has been allowed to be so disruptive of worldwide proceedings meant to cure the world of AIDs. Thanks for sharing this information. My wife works for [Commercial spam link snipped] where they advocate patient's rights.