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Mens Sana Monogr. 2008 Jan;6(1):244-56. doi: 10.4103/0973-1229.39302.

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Professor of Psychiatry, Cardiff University, Wales LL57 2PW.


When an article is rejected by a medical journal, the standard assumption is that the article is unsound or there is something wrong with the author. Alternatively, it may have been because the journal editor was concerned about the consequences should the article be published. This article seeks to inform discussion by providing a series of instances in which editorial concerns about the consequences to journals may have counted for more than any assessment about the truth-value of the article or the motives of its authors. This claim is based on the fact that different journals may treat exactly the same article in an entirely different fashion; some issues appear to be taboo in certain journals, no matter who the author, and there is a series of explicit communications from editors that publication has been held up by their legal departments.


Data access; Fundamental attributional eerror; Ghostwriting; Legal suits

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