Don’t trust a medical journal with an intervention in the title

Don’t trust a journal that has an intervention in its title. I’d suggest exercising an extremely high degree of scepticism as the odds are the papers will be of even lower quality and more biased than normal.

These journals have already made a fundamental assumption that their pet intervention is effective. They are often engaged on a mission to ‘build the evidence base’ – muddled thinking in which it is believed that evidence-based medicine is some grand edifice to be built by drawing up plans and it is the task of researchers to work toward that goal. Medical journals are already flawed in lots of ways without starting with this crucial misconception. Peer review is already limited as a tool to establish quality and I struggle to believe that peer review in these journals is likely to be done by anyone other than those already sympathetic to the intervention in question. What hope is there?

Think of it another way. I’m quite prepared to accept that the publications of trials for pharmaceuticals have lots of very serious problems. But how would you react if Big Pharma presented you with a paper from the Journal of Simvastatin or the Journal of Citalopram?