Thursday, September 7, 2017

Brief Blog: Ex-Editor Bashes NEJM; Gets Strong Review in LANCET

Jerome Kassirer, the editor of NEJM in the 90s, has written a "blistering critique" of trends he saw in the management of the NEJM and its mismanagement by its owner, the Massachusetts Medical Socieity, which treated it as a "cash cow."

Kassirer's book is self published, and is available on Amazon as an ebook and in hard copy from Kassirer himself (here, here; "Unanticipated Outcomes: A medical memoir.")   It's probably the first self-published book to get a featured review from LANCET (here).

And not from just anybody at Lancet.   The review is by Lancet's long-time editor, Richard Horton (here).    Horton, who finished med school in 1986, became editor of Lancet in 1995 at age 34.  He's still there at 56.  Knowing that, there's some wit - or black humor - in Horton's observation that:  "The best editors get fired. An editor who lingers in their job for decades has likely made bitter compromises."

Kassirer's concern was that expansionary interests were trying to turn NEJM of its day into a "publishing empire."  LANCET today has at least 15 journals:

For a series of NEJM letters regarding Kassirer's 1999 departure from NEJM, here.  At the time, the event got coverage in both NYT (here) and WSJ.   Recall that earlier in the same year, George Lundberg had been unceremoniously unseated from JAMA (here).