Intended for healthcare professionals


Emasculating hypothetical oddities?

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 04 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c726
  1. Geoff Watts
  1. 1London

    When Bruce Charlton recently proposed giving space in his journal to AIDS denier Peter Duesberg, Elsevier decided to look at the journal’s future. Geoff Watts asks if change would be for the better

    With postal deliveries comprising mainly junk mail, the monthly arrival of the journal Medical Hypotheses is a treat. But for how long? If a group set up to advise the journal’s publishers have their way, what makes it so distinctive may in due course wither. The group, which includes medical editors and others with an interest in editorial affairs, is advising Elsevier that the editorial decisions currently made by one man, Dr Bruce Charlton, should be overseen (and often, no doubt, over-ridden) by peer reviewers. Subject to the constraints of an unfamiliar orthodoxy, the bright and sometimes highly coloured plumage of Medical Hypotheses would surely suffer a fade to grey.

    Bruce Charlton—who combines his role as editor with those of reader in evolutionary psychiatry at Newcastle University and what he calls a “virtual professorship” at the University of Buckingham—has been in charge at Medical Hypotheses for some seven years. The journal was founded in 1975 by David Horrobin, another Newcastle doctor whose unconventional career was backed by a capacity for …

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