Friday, 10 June 2011

Continued Debate on the AJOB Matter: Laurence B. McCullough Responds to Dreger

Re. the worries around the editorial practice and policy of the American Journal of Bioethics voiced by Hilde Lindemann, the response to this by the editors of AJOB, as well as further more specific allegations made by Alice Dreger in the ensuing debate: The latest development is that Laurence B. McCullough, one of the authors of a paper, the publication of which in AJOB spurred this whole controversy, has now responded to Dreger's claims in the commentary thread at the Leiter Reports blog – in rather sharp terms at that.

Stay tuned......

AJOB Editor's Response, Plus Further Discussion and Allegations

Pertaining to the post made just a few hours ago: Just now, the Editor in Chief of the American Journal of Bioethics, Glenn McGee, together with two co-editors of the journal, has now responded to Hilde Lindemann's letter of resignation from the editorial board, sent to Professor Lindemann and posted in the comment thread of the original post of that letter. Here it is:

Dear Hilde,

We would like to thank you for your service to The American Journal of Bioethics. We accept your resignation from the Editorial Board.

We feel it is important to correct misstatements of fact made in your letter regarding the Journal and its oversight and accountability. The editorial board is called to meet annually at the meeting of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (we have met seven out of the last ten years). This past Fall, for example, you were invited by email of October 5th to attend the meeting held October 22nd in Aqua 310 at the conference hotel, the Hilton Bayfront in San Diego. All of the current information about the journal to which you refer is presented at that meeting, and the annual brochure, including acceptance rate, number of articles accessed and impact factor, is distributed. The review process for AJOB is described at and in the Journal itself.

Regarding the Target article by Drs. Larry McCullough and Frank Chervenak that accused you and several other individuals of acting unethically, the editors stand by the process and procedures by which this article was peer reviewed and published. We published Open Peer Commentary from you and the others who were mentioned in the Target article. When you and your colleagues alleged undisclosed conflict of interest on the part of the authors, the Editors appointed a Conflict of Interest Committee, per our policy, comprised of members of the editorial board. As you were made aware, it was concluded that there were no undisclosed conflicts of interest that required disclosure. No erratum was or is required.

As was stated clearly on the MCW-Bioethics listserv a few months ago, The American Journal of Bioethics is wholly owned and published by Taylor & Francis LLC. The editorial offices and the editor-in-chief own no portion of the Journal. AJOB prides itself on transparency and integrity and we are willing to provide whatever reasonable information about the operation and financing of the Journal that our editorial board requests.

While the Editorial Board of the Journal does not play a role in the day to day operations of the Journal, it serves as an important resource that the Editors call upon for guidance, help in soliciting manuscripts and peer reviewers, and to contribute to the Journal. We are very grateful for the constant help that the board has provided to help make the Journal a success. We are sorry you have chosen to resign from the Board, thank you for your service, and wish you luck.
But the discussion at Leiter Reports does not seem to be over by this. A number of posts expressing continued concern and making further, more specific, allegations have already appeared following the AJOB editors' reply.

Stay tuned for more – it seems.....

Leading Bioethics Journal's Editorial Management and Policy Questioned

A leading journal in my field of speciality, The American Journal of Bioethics, has been questioned regarding the soundness of its editorial management, administration and policies as one of its editorial board members, Hilde Lindemann, has resigned, airing doubts about the journal in a public letter, posted at Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog. The ensuing buzz in the comment thread has revived earlier criticism targetting AJOB's editor in chief, Glenn McGee, in an 2008 article in Scientific American, as well as an earlier critical discussion at Leiter's blog regarding the impressive ISI impact factor rating of AJOB. The news about this turmoil has also quickly reached into the general health sphere, through this blogpost. At the time of writing this, McGee has dismissed the doubts pertaining to AJOB's impact factor in the same comment thread, but not yet responded to Professor Hildemann's charges.

Stay tuned, I'm sure this business will offer quite a number of turns in the near future.