Merck, Elsevier, and Ethics

Ever hear of the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine?  Sounds official, as well as medically specific.  Did you know it was published by Elsevier?  That is is Peer Reviewed?  And that it published an article on the effectiveness of Fosamax?

How about that it was cooked up by Merck as a promotional tool, and that they paid Elsevier to publish it?

I worked in a pharmacy for eight years; I have seen first-hand the differences between the drug manufacturer’s publicity and the actual usefulness of medicines.  I am not too surprised that someone at Merck did this (though not as surprised as I will be if the FDA doesn’t lift a finger to make it clear that this level of deception is unacceptable), but am a little surprised that Elsevier went along (though maybe not too surprised (here, too)).

This is a horrible situation, and library organizations should be demanding that Elsevier establish the bona fides of the journals we pay for, and that our patrons use for their research.  Sure, we can probably trust that the big-name journals are what they say they are, but there are hundreds of obscure journals, with titles sounding just as official as the fake one, that we cannot know for sure who they represent, and how they conduct their research, without a great deal of research.  Elsevier needs to salvage their credibility, and soon.

found via Bibliographic Wilderness

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