Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Editor's Choice

Research is the future: get involved

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 03 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6525

Rapid Response:

Re: Research is the future: get involved: it all depends on what you mean by research

Dear Ms Goodlee,

Whilst I agree wholeheartedly with your desire to involve patients in both the design, conduct, analysis and dissemination of research, it remains the case that BMJ and the medical journal editors generally have focused on taking Medical research further and further away from front line care!

As editors sought to impose a fools gold standard on papers accepted for publication, the statistical significance of papers rises but the clinical relevance falls.

Moving away from the mechanistic paradigm of health (i.e. excluding patient's input into care and trial design) into a more complex co-productive paradigm of health, where there are no universal truths only constantly evolving heuristics, we will expect to see the BMJ under your editorship champion observational studies conducted with rigour on real patients over RCTs on carefully selected (biased) subsets.

If not then perhaps I regret the empress is as Danny Kaye would put it "in the all together"!
I believe if we put patients' needs as paramount we must dissociate our selves from the sort of studies preferred by the Research Councils and Journal Editors, and work towards developing a robust evidence base founded on rigorous evaluation of what works in our own practice populations, obviously using nationals norms as a starting point.

I await events with interest.

Competing interests: No competing interests

05 December 2015
Mark Temple
Public Health Physician
Public Health Wales
Temple of Peace and Health, Cardiff