The UK’s leading medical journal facing backlash from scientists and doctors for the publication of a series of articles created by members of the self-proclaimed independent SAGE group.
The British Medical Journal is one of the world’s most prestigious publications, but it has been accused of being biased, waging a culture war, and driving a wedge in the scientific community.
The entire pandemic group held regular briefings on YouTube, which are often seen on television and have gained a cult like ardent fans on social media about how their tough stance resulted.
For the past two and a half years, he has defended various interventions and criticized several policy decisions that lift COVID restrictions. Once a zero-Covid protection group, they are now widely seen as mask supporters and are ready to reimpose restrictions such as the lockdown.
But with the way the public and the wider scientific community are following vocal scientists on Twitter in the post-COVID-19 world and leaving behind many graphs, Earth’s biggest medical journal has put its substantial weight behind the group.
Scientific and medical journals strive to be on top of the scientific world. A publication that embodies the scientific process and the enduring search for answers and truth, or at least attempts to build scientific consensus while keeping the health debate alive.
But the BMJ was accused. To represent only one side of the story and ignore the other sides of the argument.
“Disappointing but not surprising”
Dr Jake Dunning, an infectious disease specialist and UKHSA consultant at the University of Oxford, claimed that the BMJ’s affiliation with the Independent SAGE was “disappointing but not surprising”.
“BMJ has its own agenda and favourites; like ICES is not really free or fair and it was a long time before the covid way,” he said.
“Always felt like it was suffering from an identity crisis, not knowing if it was a scientific journal or a medical paper.”
Critics of the BMJ say reaching a scientific consensus will never be an easy task, but bringing together the most vocal members of one side of the unanswered debate only fuels an already deep-rooted division.
BMJ editor Kamran Abbasi wrote an article in which he said the newly commissioned batch of editorials would “explore how information was misused, misused and manipulated to promote an ideologically motivated “infodemic”.
In it he writes that the series will describe both the successes and failures of the UK response, but his conclusion is clear.
The UK response should be much better… While debate continues as to how the stability of national health care systems compares to shocks such as the pandemic, there is no doubt that the UK response has been far from adequate. of its potential,” the article says.
The reaction to the magazine’s editorial decision was brutal.
Dr Michael Absoud, consultant for Children’s Neurodeficiency at London’s Evelyn Children’s Hospital, told The Telegraph: “It is a shame that the BMJ is aggravating our hostile political system with articles framed as science”.
On Twitter, he said he felt “concerned” that the BMJ was “choosing to wage an unnecessary culture war”.
‘Wait for the possibility of objective assessment to be ruined’
Professor Tim Colborne, Professor of Global Health Systems, Epidemiology and Evaluation at UCL, said: “[It is] Perhaps not possible, given the convoluted sides, but it would be good for science if the journal tried to unite scientists with differing opinions on important topics, such as trying to move toward scientific consensus in products. .
He also wondered whether the BMJ and its editors would publicly publish articles in collaboration with people with differing views.
In one of the editorial boards, eight members of the independent Sage write an “analysis” of how the COVID-19 policy affected children and schools.
The group pushed for schools to remain closed in 2020 until Covid has been eradicated, but has since moved away from that bizarre approach.
In their article, they claim Britain was an international outlier, a return to school in September 2020 “could has accelerated the spread of the community” and they blame the government for relying on evidence that underestimates the seriousness of the coronavirus. do less.
Dr. Alasdair Munro, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Southampton, called the one-sidedness of the BMJ’s publications a true waste of opportunity for an objective and unbiased evaluation. He also asked why pediatricians were not included in the article on Impact on Children.
“I am more disappointed that the BMJ, whom I have long respected, has assigned members of a political activist group to do this series,” he said.
‘full of mistakes’
What content of the analysis itself was incorrect and “garbage”, he said. with mistakes.”
A BMJ representative told The Telegraph: “It’s completely normal for people to disagree with articles that have a strong point of view. I wouldn’t call it negative feedback. We want people to study with reason.
“We are not closing the debate by publishing these articles. A number of writers in the series work with Independent Sage. Nothing out of the ordinary. He is a respected scientist and he has written for us before. The other authors of the series do not work with the independent Saint. We are not ruling on the foundation of his association with the independent saint, or on people outside.
“We are also happy to consider completed applications for articles from authors who take a different approach to anything we post and review those submissions as part of our normal process of editorial and collegiate review. The discussion will continue – and that’s what we want.”
How is the publication of a series of well thought-out and reasoned pieces on the main issues fueling the Culture War? We do not expect that everyone will agree with the views and arguments of the authors we publish.
The other authors of the series do not work with the independent Saint.