The BMJ publishing team turns its eyes on anti-statin, anti-dietary guidelines and low carbohydrate content by promoting editorial bias?


The truth is that I love the British sports journal but anyone reading it knows this strange habit of publishing articles on dietary instructions that are not related to sports, the dangers of cholesterol-lowering drugs and the supposed supremacy of low carbohydrate diets. This is a strange thing, or perhaps not, as today's 4 posters of score (Drs Nicola Guess, Ian Laar, Duane Mellor, and David Nunnan), can simply reflect the author's personal bias. So take a look at their story, and if you're reading on the fence, ask yourself if it would be strange for the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition to publish guidelines for ankle spraying or if the Journal of the American Journal of Cardiology published a review of the effectiveness of plantar vaginosis orthosis? And note that at the end of your hosted position there is a link to an open letter to the BMJ who have written, which by following the link, you can also sign.

Scientific journals have the potential to allow researchers to be informed about developments in their field, to publish their own research, and to comment on the research and ideas of their peers. Journal writers play a vital role as impartial towers of this process and it is important to ensure that their personal beliefs and prejudices do not affect decisions related to the content published in their journal.

Here is a summary of an example of poor care that we are experiencing today and how this can shade the scientific reason for a personal agenda. A full description of this story is available here.

In April 2017, a syntactic piece entitled "Saturated fats do not block the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced by healthy lifestyle interventions", published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine BJSM) and is then repeatedly promoted from the Twitter account, which is managed jointly by the chief editor of the magazine (EIC). * The promotion of a constitution is perfectly normal – often an EIC will mark an article or a piece of opinion that they think they are interested in. However, it is also normal and it is expected that the author recognizes and welcomes the discussion and objections from others who disagree with the points made in the published article. Two of us (David Nunan and Ian Lahart) emailed the EIC immediately after the publication of the original article that offered an objection but received no response. After three months of no response, we published an open response to PubCommons (last published by Pubpeer) highlighting what we considered as major shortcomings in the original article.

We were surprised to see the tweeting of the EIC the article on saturated fat a year later and stating that "is important"The constitution had no objections. We contacted the EIC immediately and after a series of emails, we accepted acceptance of our appeal to the BJSM.

An important point – which we believe to highlight BJSM's bias at the door – is that the original article was published as "open access", which means it was freely available to academics, the public and the media. This is important for openness and access to science and also allows interested members of the public to read articles often hidden behind a paywall. This of course is good practice. Basically here is that decisions to create articles like this open access are made exclusively by the EIC of BJSM.

Of course, in the spirit of the open debate, we would consider it logical that our withdrawal would open open access, along with some promotion of the social media. In this way, readers could read both the original article and the overturn and examine all the arguments presented. However, EIC told us that our article would not be available as open access, but that we could pay for it (£ 1,950) to read it for free.

We were also worried and surprised that we were examining other articles on similar non-mandate / reader issues (eg dietary guidelines, statins) published in the BJSM. Of the 10 such items, everything was open access, all had narratives that disappointed current dietary guidelines and / or statins and promoted a low-carbohydrate diet. All articles were written by supporters of these narratives, some of which are written in two or more articles. The EIC, through the BJSM twitter account, regularly promoted these narratives to the social media. Four objections / objections have been published in these articles (including the most recent) – none of them was available as open access by the EIC. There was also no promotion of these objections through social media from BJSM's twitter account.

In addition, during the two-month period when we contacted the editorial team to publish our open access article or at least one footnote added to the state we had denied free open access (both applications were rejected), BJSM produced two podcasts from writers 2 of the 10 free articles, including the present one.

To be clear, our contradiction was not in complete disagreement with all the points made in the original pension. Our analysis was more about the use of powerful methods to emphasize the power of evidence and to highlight known and unknown elements that were overlooked in the original syntax. In addition, we have serious disagreements between us about the elements in this area (eg dietary guidelines). These disagreements, however, must be openly discussed in the scientific literature. The role of the EIC is to facilitate this in an impartial way and to ensure that there are systems to avoid prejudice against the scientific discourse of the magazine's public. Imagine if a magazine published and promoted only open access articles about the effectiveness of aspirin to prevent heart attacks, but hid any overturn (underlining the possible lesions) quietly behind a grid?

We are worried about BJSM's editorial behavior and procedures. Since the magazine belongs to the BMJ (edited by the British Medical Society (BMA)), it also raises questions about governance in over 50 journals. BJSM is also co-owned by the British Association of Sports and Exercise Medicine (BASEM). We consider that this deserves to continue and write an open letter to each of these organizations asking for the issues raised here.

Our Open Letter is available for signing (and reading) by clicking here.

It will be disputed that the application of a standard content in the scope of the peer review and the reader will be disputed:[*itwouldbereasonabletoquestionthefitofsuchaneditorialtothejournal'sscopeandreadership:"[*θαήτανλογικόνααμφισβητηθείηεφαρμογήενόςτέτοιουσυντακτικούπεριεχομένουστοπεδίοεφαρμογήςτουπεριοδικούκαιστοαναγνωστικόκοινό:”[*itwouldbereasonabletoquestionthefitofsuchaneditorialtothejournal’sscopeandreadership:“… provides initial research, comments and discussion on the clinically relevant aspects of sport and exercise medicine, including physiotherapy, physical therapy and rehabilitation."]

Dr. Nicola Guess is a lecturer in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at King's College London in the United Kingdom and a registered dietitian. Her research interests concern the effect of diet on the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Ian Lahart is senior physiology professor and researcher at the Institute of Human Sciences of the University of Wolverhampton. He completed his Ph.D. in an exercise role in breast cancer. Through his PhD, he conducted a randomly controlled exercise trial in women with breast cancer. Ian is also the lead author of a recent review of co-operation with Cochrane on the consequences of exercise in women with post-adjuvant breast cancer therapy. Through his role as a researcher at Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, UK, he helped create and run a Cancer Recovery Service based on the MacMillan-based exercise. Although his research focuses on the role of exercise in breast cancer rehabilitation and survival, he has also been working with patients with other cancers, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes and related metabolic conditions. He is also interested in the communication of science and post-research – research that explores the practices and the quality of research.

Dr. Duane Mellor has been working clinically as a dietitian, mainly in diabetes management and education and then as a clinical trial researcher. However, reflecting the first 2 decades of his career, he began to question certain aspects of diet and diet. Now he is interested in looking at nutrition, both in terms of causality and quality, as well as the way it is communicated to the public by the media. In order to challenge the thinking in this area, look at aspects of the benefits and risks of harm, ultimately looking at how to better support the public to eat foods that they enjoy and that support good health.

The career of Dr. David Nunan in academic research began 15 years ago, focusing on clinical care and documented medicine over the last 8 years. After completing his doctoral degree, he joined the Center for Medicine based on evidence and his role is now divided between research, teaching and promotion activities.

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