As I write, we are in the extraordinary position that the 2 largest
medical journals in the world are without editors in chief because the owners
have taken exception to the positions and actions of those editors.
George Lundberg, editor of JAMA, was removed on January 15, 1999.
On July 25, New England Journal of Medicine editor
Jerome Kassirer was ousted from a position he held with distinction for 8
years,1 and had expected to fill until 2003.
Of the issues dividing owner and editor, the most important had to do with
the application of the journal's impressive brand name to spin-off journals
and to various consumer letters and magazines. These latter publications are
advertised as being from "the publishers of the New England
Journal of Medicine." A true enough statement, but misleading in that
these publications would not have gone through the rigorous competitive selection
process of peer review and revision necessary to satisfy the high standards
of that journal's editors.
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