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The BMJ (previously the British Medical Journal) is a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal.

Cover image of The BMJ weekly print edition

Peer review controversy[edit | edit source]

An early version of the PACE reanalysis paper by Carolyn Wilshire et al was submitted to The BMJ and received two peer reviews,[1] one which recommended publication, the other being described by Prof James Coyne as "patently unprofessional"[2].

This second review can be viewed in its entirety both on Coyne's blog and on the Science for ME forum.[1] As part of his blog on the review, Coyne highlights a number of noteworthy points in it, including that:

  • The reviewer notes that the paper is billed as a collaboration between patients and scientists, but questions whether any of the authors qualify as “clinicians” or “scientists.”
  • The reviewer expresses doubts that the patients meet criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • The reviewer reiterates the doubt the patients meet criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome and suggests that they were erroneously self-diagnosed.
  • The reviewer suggests that the authors were erroneously self-diagnosed and went doctor-shopping until they found agreement.
  • After earlier mentioning that he had not obtained the author’s published review, he questions whether it is a major review.

Additionally a comment on Coyne's blog on the review from the blogger Neuroskeptic says, "This is a bizarre, arrogant and unprofessional review. I say this as someone who has called PACE “solid” and “not ‘bad science'”. Wherever you stand on the issues here, this review is just shocking. Shame on the reviewer."

Professor Jonathan Edwards, posting on the Science for ME forums, called for an apology from the BMJ, stating that he felt that the "reviewer and the journal have made complete fools of themselves".[3]

The reanalysis was later submitted to and published by BMC Psychology.[4]

Alleged bias[edit | edit source]

Ellen Goudsmit wrote a paper detailing her accusation that the British Medical Journal had displayed bias towards the psychological model of ME/CFS.[5]

Notable articles[edit | edit source]

Notable podcasts[edit | edit source]

Online presence[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]