Open letter to Dr Richard Horton, Editor, The Lancet, Re: the PACE trial for M.E. (2 May 2011)
Posted on 2 May 2011 by Dr John Greensmith, ME Free For All.org:
Dear Dr Horton,
There is an almost universally accepted principle, amongst respected scientists, of peer review, by which those of equal qualification are not only permitted but invited and encouraged to offer a critical analysis of their research.
It appears, however, with respect to the PACE trial for M.E. (White et al. Lancet, February 2011) that your editorial policy is not allowing the most basic principle of right of reply we normally take for granted in a democratic society, which boasts a free press.
At the time of writing, you have rejected for publication no less than 29 letters from 22 individual authors or M.E. support groups. They have in common a number of observations including poor experimental design, subject selection criteria, statistical analysis etc. any one of which would rock one’s confidence in the validity and reliability of the conclusions of this study but which, collectively, damn it and ring alarm bells for anyone thinking of acting upon them.
I hope you will publish this letter, together with this link http://www.mecfsforums.com/wiki/Rejected_Letters_to_the_Lancet, in order that your readers may have an opportunity, which we all think is only fair – or you leave us wondering why you have been so censorious, or selectively editorial and whether it is exclusively about this issue.
I submit this as an open letter so that other editors may decide whether your “editor’s decision is final” ought to be final. Thank Tim Berners-Lee that they can.
Dr John H Greensmith
ME Free For All.org