Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Editor's Choice

The crooked timber of humanity

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 17 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3813

Rapid Response:

Re: The crooked timber of humanity

The review (1) contains borrowings from (2) without acknowledgement of the source:
“Prof. N. and his coauthors give extensive references to the media, commercial publications, websites of public organizations, or even unidentified ones, to justify their ideas. These are also the source for statistical data on demography, morbidity, etc., which is not considered seriously by the scientific community. Most of the references are conference proceedings, abstracts of theses, and brochures in Russian, all hitherto unknown to the world and hardly accessible even in the former Soviet Union, not to mention the rest of the world.” (1)
Corresponding fragments from (2):
“Prof. N. cites mass media, commercial editions, websites of unclear affiliation and other non-professional publications to substantiate his opinion.”
“Moreover, a major part of literary sources quoted by N. are abstract books of meetings and conferences in Russian and other languages of the former Soviet Union, institutional editions, candidate’s and doctoral theses, brochures, etc. Their titles are roughly translated into English, which makes their finding in libraries hardly possible even in the former Soviet Union. For the rest of the world, most of the quoted editions are totally unavailable.”
“…statistics and other data are quoted with references to mass media, commercial editions, releases of lay public organizations, websites...”
It seems obvious that the above-quoted paragraph from (1) was compiled from the text fragments from (2); while entire phrases were borrowed almost verbatim.
The paper (2) was submitted to the Journal on 27 February 2010 and published online on 17 July 2010. The review (1) was posted on 1 September 2010.

1. Balonov MI. Review. “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Disaster for the Population and the Environment Yablokov AV, Nesterenko VB, and Nesterenko AV. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1189 (2009)” The NYAS Web Site. Posted 1 September 2010. Available at: (accessed March 3, 2012)

2. Jargin SV. Overestimation of Chernobyl consequences: poorly substantiated information published. Radiat Environ Biophys 2010;49:743-5.

Competing interests: No competing interests

12 March 2012
Sergei V. Jargin
Peoples' Friendship University of Russia
Clementovski per 6-82; 115184 Moscow, Russia