John G. Sotos, MD
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Sotos J.; Scholarship Erosion. Ann Intern Med. 2006;145:77. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-145-1-200607040-00015
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2006;145(1):77.
TO THE EDITOR:
Has the convenience of Internet searching caused Annals to lower its standards of scholarship? The letter from McAlister and Sener (1) raises this and other questions. In describing a new physical sign, the letter asserted, “In the 19th century, George Henry Fox is reputed to have noted bruising of the groin in hemorrhagic pancreatitis.” A Web site was the reference for this statement.
The first question is: Has innuendo become acceptable scholarship in Annals?
The second, larger, question is: Why did the editors allow the authors to reference a Web site? A simple PubMed search (“fox[au] AND pancreatitis”) returns just 15 publications, 1 of which is a 1966 article by J.A. Fox (2) in which he describes pancreatitic infrainguinal ecchymoses. Therefore, the Web site, which (tellingly) did not provide references, was wrong. Asking the editors to conduct PubMed searches and review Web sites goes too far, of course. However, they should have questioned the citation because, had the sign actually originated in the 19th century, there would certainly be a printed publication to cite.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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