Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Feature Essay

Justifying conflicts of interest in medical journals: a very bad idea

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 02 June 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2942

Rapid Response:

Re: Justifying conflicts of interest in medical journals: a very bad idea

There is another "conflict" issue that NEJM left out of their editorials and 3 scenario examples; what about conflicts of interest among peer reviewers?

If NEJM is arguing that review articles by experts should be published regardless of their financial conflicts of interest, are they suggesting that those articles should be evaluated by peer reviewers who have similar financial conflicts of interest?

Some authors have been caught not disclosing their financial conflicts of interest; but since the peer review process is anonymous, there's no way for readers to know how objective the peer review process really was for a given article.

Who chooses peer reviewers at NEJM? Can authors recommend peer reviewers for their articles? Or does the editor or editorial staff select peer reviewers? If the NEJM solicits a review article, does that article get published with or without peer review?

The peer review process has been scammed by authors who make up fictitious reviewer names and identities and email addresses so the authors wind up being their own peer reviewer.

How far is NEJM willing to go with their conflict-of-interest-is-not-a-problem approach?

Competing interests: No competing interests

05 June 2015
Mark Hochhauser
Retired Psychologist
3344 Scott Avenue North, Golden Valley, MN 55422, USA