On June 22, following the publication of our report on an article in the Journal of Animal Science, we received a letter from the Journal. It is reprinted below, along with our reply. Story to follow.
Letter from the Journal of Animal Science:
Dear Ms. Brill-
Thank you for contacting us regarding the peer reviewed review article in the Journal of Animal Science. I truly wish that you had contacted us prior to the publication of your article in the Canine Review on Friday. We believe you have unwittingly misrepresented the article in the Journal of Animal Science. The article is a peer reviewed review of literature not a primary research article reporting new research and as such the authors didn’t have conflict – it is their interpretation of research that has already been published. If it was a study they were reporting the primary results were they received compensation to do the work – there would be conflict.
The easiest thing to do in this case if people disagree is to write a letter to the editor to JAS … in this case Dr. Johnson – she would be more than happy to publish the letter to the editor. I would suggest a letter to the editor that provides peer reviewed citations of work these authors did not cite or that they did cite but you feel should be interpreted differently.
Because of passionate coverage of DCM in dogs, we have begun publishing articles in JAS – both primary research and reviews. They do not all agree – I believe it is likely to be complicated story. Again – we absolutely welcome a letter to the editor outlining your scientific concerns.
Please feel free to send any further questions to either Dr. Johnson (EiC of Journal of Animal Science or myself and if you need help with the Letter to the Editor submission process, I would be happy to help.
If you have further questions that you would like to submit to either Dr. Johnson as EiC or me as CEO … please send the questions to us in advance and we will set up a time to discuss with you.
Meghan Wulster-Radcliffe, PhD
The Canine Review replied as follows:
Thank you for your letter.
First, there seems to be some confusion. I tried repeatedly to contact you before publishing the article in my publication. The ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ links on your website take readers to your publisher, Oxford University Press. Another ‘About’ link takes readers to a page displaying Dr. Johnson’s name and title, but there is no contact information on that page.
I did send several emails to OUP’s communications office.
I also made clear in the article that Dr. Johnson did not decline to comment; rather, we were unable to contact her.
As soon as I was able to find contact information for Dr. Johnson, I reached out. I do regret not finding that information earlier. I realize now that the Journal does list contact information for Dr. Johnson on a different page within its website.
Similarly, I was not seeking, nor do I seek, to publish an article or letter in your publication.
Second, the quotes in the article and the article itself made quite clear that it was a review of the literature.
Third, you seem to be saying that no conflicts need to be disclosed when someone being paid by a company that works for an industry reviews “the literature” associated with criticism of that industry and comes to a different conclusion than that of the primary regulator of that industry about the potential harm presented by its product. Is that correct?
If that is the case, we are glad to publish your letter in The Canine Review along with the above response.
Thanks again for your reply.