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Readers’ editor

Trish Groves: Reader responses to updated Cochrane reviews on Tamiflu and Relenza

23 Apr, 14 | by BMJ Group

trish_grovesIt’s nearly two weeks since The BMJ published two updated Cochrane reviews on the benefits and harms in influenza of the neuraminidase inhibitors oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). These research articles were accompanied by The BMJ’s peer review comments and other supplementary files and appendices and several commissioned articles. more…

Readers’ editor: Clichéd series titles, and “Save our Des”

11 Mar, 14 | by BMJ Group

David PayneLast month the journal launched the first in a series of in-depth reviews written by international experts—State of the Art—to highlight important areas of clinical medicine and academic inquiry.

So far we have published two. The first article examined the mechanisms and clinical implications of neuropathic pain and, according to Google Analytics, has been viewed 21,930 times since its publication on 5 February. It is the 10th most viewed page on, and we hope it and subsequent articles steer “an effective course between oversimplification and over-complication,” to quote one reviewer. The second article looked at drug treatments for epilepsy in adults. It went online on 28 February, and so far has 11,418 views, our 19th most popular page. more…

Readers’ editor: Is the term “Chinese wall” racist?

30 Jan, 14 | by BMJ Group

David PayneAt The BMJ we often talk about the “Chinese wall,” a clear demarcation between the advertising sales and editorial teams. This safeguard helps to avoid conflicts of interest, and means advertisers have no prior knowledge of an article that may mention their product, either positively or negatively. But is the term racist? more…

Jett Aislabie: Airport noise and cardiovascular disease

15 Oct, 13 | by BMJ

airplane_peopleLast week we published a cluster of papers on airport noise and cardiovascular disease. One US based study found a statistically significant association between exposure to aircraft noise and risk of hospitalisation for cardiovascular diseases among older people living near airports, and another found that high levels of aircraft noise were associated with increased risks of stroke, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease for both hospital admissions and mortality in areas near Heathrow airport in London. more…

Readers’ editor: Where has all the research news gone?

3 Sep, 13 | by BMJ Group

David Payne In March 2005 Ali Tonks wrote her first weekly Short Cuts column, a summary of nine papers published in the world’s other main general medical journals. The following year we published the first of Richard Lehman’s weekly journal review blogs. more…

Jett Aislabie: Is all sponsorship equal?

2 Sep, 13 | by BMJ

Advertising and sponsorship are generally seen as necessary evils by us here at The BMJ. While we are positively fizzing with ideas for new content, we know that bringing it to you, and as wide an audience as possible, is much more likely with the support of sponsors.

Having said that we would like to know what your thoughts are. Is all sponsorship equal? Would you feel comfortable with, say, an non-governmental organisation sponsoring a roundtable discussion? How about a government department sending an expert for a webinar, or a private healthcare provider? Would you be happy with “big pharma” suggesting the topic for an article? How about choosing its author? more…

Readers’ editor: Homophobia and the BMJ

21 Aug, 13 | by BMJ Group

David Payne In December 2012 Doug Kamerow asked in his regular BMJ column if gay marriage improves health.

Eight months later the article attracted its first response. Gregory Gardner, a GP in the West Midlands, wanted to know why Kamerow had not mentioned the impact of same sex marriage on the health and wellbeing of children. Dr Gardner’s response cited the 2012 findings from the New Family Structures Study in the Elsevier journal Social Science Research by Mark Regnerus, associate professor of sociology at the University of Austin, Texas. more…

Readers’ editor: The Liverpool Care Pathway—anyone care outside the UK?

31 Jul, 13 | by BMJ Group

David Payne Columnist Charles Moore asked in The Spectator magazine last week if the Liverpool Care Pathway might have inspired more confidence if it had been called, say, the Oxford Care Pathway.

Was Moore referring to Oxford as an ancient seat of learning and innovation, or lazily perpetuating the myth that Liverpool is synonomous with riots, poverty, and crime and therefore incapable of either developing or inspiring confidence in a tool to deliver end of life care? (It was the city’s Marie Curie Hospice that collaborated on an end of life care pathway for use in hospitals in the late 1990s, BMJ clinical fellow Krishna Chinthapalli reminds us in his blog). more…

Readers’ editor: Authors “ignoring” readers

18 Jul, 13 | by BMJ Group

David Payne Joginder Anand, a longstanding reader of the BMJ, wants to know how we can encourage authors to respond. In a recent email he asks: “Should the BMJ not make it mandatory for the leading authors of all articles to respond to criticisms or requests for clarifications?

My question back to him is how? What would be the penalty?

Dr Anand suggests banning further publication in the journal.

Would that work? I don’t think so. Many of our authors are busy clinicians or researchers. Often they intend to respond, but finding the time to do so is a challenge. We are delighted when they do, but acknowledge it isn’t always feasible. more…

Readers’ editor: Influence beyond the impact factor

2 Jul, 13 | by BMJ Group

David PayneThe BMJ’s impact and influence should be measured by more than just established metrics such as impact factor.

But the new figures, released two weeks ago, are very welcome. The journal’s impact factor rose more than 20% to 17.215. My first thought on discovering this was that a strategic aim to increase the impact of the BMJ’s scholarly content is starting to pay off.

The new figure makes the BMJ the most highly cited open access general medical journal in the world, now higher than PLoS Medicine and puts it in the top four general medical journals, above the Annals of Internal Medicine. This is due in part to a conscious drive to publish research that will be highly cited as well as widely read by clinicians around the world.

But authors also value media coverage alongside measures such as impact factor, and articles in the BMJ get namechecked regularly in UK and international newspapers, magazines, blogs, and broadcast channels. This blog aims to illustrate the ripple effect caused by media coverage and the debate it can engender, both in the BMJ and beyond. more…

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