Harvey Marcovitch: ‘O wad some power the giftie gie us’

Harvey MarcovitchIt’s nice to know how others see us. Several weeks ago, a journal editor based in Europe asked my opinion on a contentious paper he had agreed to publish, had posted online, but about which he now had concerns. I told him that I did not have the scientific expertise to provide a thorough review of the methodology.  However, I did know that, some years ago, one of the authors had been erased from the medical register by the GMC. This followed criticism and a complaint by a High Court judge before whom the doctor had given evidence. The basis of the Court’s criticism was regarding the same subject area as the paper which had been sent to me.
Just recently I bumped into the editor and asked him the fate of the paper. For various reasons he intended to go ahead with publication in the paper copy of his journal. When I expressed surprise that he should do so, in face of the GMC sanction, he commented: “But your GMC strikes people off very easily.”

As I said at the start, it’s nice to know how others see us.

Harvey Marcovitch is an associate editor, BMJ