Reading and Doing Medical Research

Twenty-nine years as an editor of a medical journal has given me an insider’s view of how research papers get processed … and its not always a pretty picture. Despite the Peer Review Process – the fact that submissions are sent to experts for their opinions – what gets published in medical journals is a reader-beware proposition. So I want to tell you about that problem, how big it is, and its primary cause … and in so doing, give you some tips on how to be critical readers. Then I will outline a technical fix that could go a long way toward solving this problem – a new way to submit manuscripts to journals. And finally, with help from Augustina Otero, I hope to explain a perspective that lies at the heart of good research – a standard that you can use now, when you read other people’s research, and when you do research yourself.