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David Tuller: Trial By Error: My Letter about MUS to the British Journal of General Practice

Discussion in 'PsychoSocial ME/CFS News' started by Eagles, May 6, 2019.

  1. dave30th

    dave30th Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    for the journal, yes. But I alerted Chew-Graham months ago and told her I would go to the journal to seek a correction. She did nothing.
     
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  2. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That's what I meant.
     
  3. dave30th

    dave30th Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Ah, yes, well good point! By rights she should have to explain herself. But I doubt that will happen.
     
  4. Cheshire

    Cheshire Moderator Staff Member

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    Trial By Error: British Journal of General Practice Agrees to Correction about MUS


    http://www.virology.ws/2019/05/29/t...eral-practice-agrees-to-correction-about-mus/
     
  5. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    A significant win, because the bean counters will take note and their decisions can make a big difference.
     
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  6. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I agree. As well as being critical of when they fail, worth recognising when people (assuming the correction is adequate) respond well.
     
  7. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Assuming the correction is adequate is a very good point. I’m hoping this will actually be corrected on the paper rather than in some little note hidden away in the dark recesses of the website
     
  8. dave30th

    dave30th Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I wouldn't go overboard on praise for people who are forced to agree to perform their necessary job functions under duress. Remember that the editor first suggested it wasn't worth the bother because the data were ten years old. That's not an acceptable response. Then he also suggested I send in "one or two short sentences" that I would want the journal to consider publishing--an absurd offer that essentially was an invitation to have them do nothing but deign to consider publishing a letter, as if I just had a different opinion rather than had pointed out a false statement. Only when I pushed back and embarrassed him publicly did he back down. So I don't share the feeling that he behaved properly. He was forced to agree to make the correction.
     
  9. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't think that he was 'forced' to make a correction. If the last decade has taught me one thing, it's that academic journals can get away with refusing to correct clearly false claims. Look at how people like Horton and Murray have behaved. They've published ridiculous claims and avoided issuing any sort of correction despite years of public criticism, choosing to smear those raising concerns instead.

    I'm not planning to nominate him for any award, but if other editors had behaved this well/badly then we'd be in a much better position today.

    Also, while his initial response wasn't brimming with a sense of urgency to correct the record, it was also a bit ambiguous. I'm not entirely sure what he was planning to do at that point.
     
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  10. dave30th

    dave30th Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Just because some editors have been powerful enough to not back down doesn't mean he wasn't essentially forced by the total weakness and absurdity of his position. And sure, if other editors had also performed their normal job functions, things would be better now. But I still don't see why people deserve praise for doing the very basic normal things that their job requires them to do. That's just standard behavior.

    I didn't see his initial response as ambiguous. First he indicated that it wasn't really worth correcting based on the age of the data, and then he tried to impose on me the responsibility of fixing the problem. It is insulting to ask someone to send a letter when what is needed is a correction. A letter is not the appropriate response to a mistake. His response to me was sort of dripping with disdain over the fact that I'd even bothered to raise the issue at all. He only acted after I wrote two pretty tough letters after his initial response. I should not have had to do that to get him to behave. I think you're giving him more credit then he deserves. Just because he's not as bad as Horton in this context isn't exculpatory.
     
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  11. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    There is sometimes a case for magnanimity in victory.
     
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  12. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    sometimes :)
     
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  13. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm not saying I think he's a great guy, but my impression is that generally it takes journals longer than 3 weeks to agree to make a correction. From reading about other academics trying to get corrections, these sorts of things is a routinely frustrating experience - academia is just routinely a bit shit.

    I can see it's going to be irritating for you to have needed to do all this work just to get him to agree to make a necessary correction, and then have me talk as if we should be pleased that's all it took... but (assuming it is a respectable correction) this is better than we can expect at the moment imo.

    It's possible that I'm also partly affected by 'ill-person time'. It can take me a long time to reply to anything important, and then when I assume well people have lots of other responsibilities to manage too, I tend to give a reasonable amount of leeway on the time people take to respond. I'd just been reading something from a journalist who has getting arsey about the fact someone had not replied to his complaint in two days and that made me think I'm on a different time-scale to most people.

    Thanks for all your work on this... sorry you've been sucked into this frustrating campaign!
     
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  14. dave30th

    dave30th Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Why sorry? I have no regrets! It's frustrating but endlessly fascinating to me to watch an entire cohort of professionals, many of them presumably smart, deluding themselves and being trapped in their fantasies and imposing harm on millions in the process. I have never witnessed anything like it.

    I think some of the discussion here is again about US-UK differences. In US terms, I would say, my letters are tough but well within bounds. My persistence also might mark me as a bit of a pest but it would be considered ridiculous if someone tried to call it "harassment"--I mean, especially given the accuracy of the claims and the appropriateness of the demands. In the UK, I gather I come across a bit differently. I think it is likely a shock for some of these people to get letters that point out the illegitimacy of what they are saying, but I don't see why they think they have a right not to be called out on stuff like that.

    It does take journals a while to correct things. Usually the people asking for corrections aren't also cc-ing members of Parliament, members of high-level committees, etc. And it's true journals take forever to correct things. I'm asking them to work on journalism time, not academic publishing time, because of the public health urgency of the situation.
     
  15. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Of the best kind :D.
    Absolutely.
     
  16. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Credit where it is due. He did make the change, and it was a quick turn around by the usual standards. We are still waiting on PACE papers to be corrected/withdrawn 8 years later.

    Much as it might stick in our craws, we should be fairly generous and forgiving to the first few journal editors to stand up to the BPS cult. These editors will almost certainly be under serious pressure from those cultists. They are taking risks, are helping to open up the debate space for others to follow, and this one was a pretty significant win.

    Prefer we didn't alienate that group of people, even if their cooperation may tend to reluctant and begrudging. They don't have to be active supporters or fellow travelers, they don't have to like or praise us, they just have to do their basic job of quality control.
     
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  17. dave30th

    dave30th Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    well, he hasn't actually made a change yet. he has promised to make it. on Wednesday, he said he was making it "now." it is Friday. perhaps he will not actually make the correction until after I send him another letter next week asking him to notify me when it finally happens.
     
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  18. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Fair point. He certainly is not off the hook if he doesn't do it.
     
  19. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I’m hoping there isn’t some way out for him of asking Chew-Graham to revise the wording and giving her 6 months to come up with something a la Cochrane. Cynical - moi o_O
     
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  20. Kalliope

    Kalliope Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Trial By Error: Hey BJGP, Where's That Correction about the Cost of MUS?

    Earlier today (Sunday, June 9th, in San Francisco), I sent the following e-mail to Professor Roger Jones, the editor of the British Journal of General Practice. I first wrote to Professor Jones in early May, seeking a correction to a 2017 editorial about the cost of so-called “medically unexplained symptoms” to the National Health Service. After some back and forth, Professor Jones sent me a message on May 29th that the journal was correcting the error “now.”

    I wrote him back and thanked him, including some suggestions about what the correction might include. As of this posting, the editorial remains uncorrected. The British Journal of General Practice is continuing to disseminate what it knows to be false information about an important public health policy issue.
     

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