Feature Interview

Aubrey Blumsohn: Academic who took on industry

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b5293 (Published 15 December 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b5293

Re: Is there no place for integrity in academic medicine?

Peter Wilmshurst is right: our regulatory institutions have
completely lost the plot. The scientist who accepted shoddy practice gets
a rap over the knuckles while the scientist who stood up for good
practice, Dr Aubrey Blumsohn, has long since ceased to work: unemployable
for that very reason.

Some years ago I had an exchange in these columns with the then
president of the European Medical Writer's Association, Adam Jacobs. This
is what he said:

"When the time comes for publication, the medical writer writes the
publication in consultation with the named author(s). This usually begins
with discussions between the medical writer and authors(s) about the main
features of the paper, after which the medical writer writes the first
draft. The draft is then revised (sometimes many times) after review by
the author(s). Thus although the authors do not actually write the paper,
they do have control over its content, which is far more important.
Naturally, they have access to the report of the study and its data
tables, so they can verify that the paper is accurate. They often don't
have access to the raw data, but it is worth repeating that raw data are
of very little use when writing a paper. Results of a study need
summarising and analysing before they mean anything, and it is those
summaries and analyses that are important for proper interpretation of a
study, not the raw data themselves." [1]

This situation is not alright. Shame!

[1] Adam Jacobs, 'Re: Never mind the ethics, is it legal?',
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/329/7472/0-g#86446

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

04 January 2010
John Stone
Contributing editor: Age of Autism
London N22