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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, January 21, 2010
How to Fool All of the People All of the Time:
US Taxpayers Fund Library Censorship
(OMNS, January 21, 2010) At a recent emergency meeting of the World Headquarters Of Pharmaceutical Politicians, Educators, and Reporters (WHOPPER):
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have a slight problem. The public is beginning to complain about how the US National Library of Medicine censors nutritional research. This is embarrassing, as the last thing we want is for taxpayers to question how their tax money is spent. It is none of their damn business. But it is definitely a matter of business, big business, for WHOPPER.
"Up until now, when people write to complain about journal censorship ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) , we've managed to get away with NLM sending out this form letter reply: 'The National Library of Medicine (NLM) uses a 15-person advisory committee of health professionals and librarians to recommend titles to be indexed. This committee uses guidelines, available to the public on our website, such as scientific merit, importance of the content to the scientific community, and editorial processes to assist it in making recommendations. Additional information about journal selection is available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/jsel.html '
"The beauty of this is that we do not have to follow the published guidelines. We control the National Library of Medicine so skillfully that we got Medline to index publications that are not medical journals at all. We are enormously proud to say that Medline indexes Time magazine, Newsweek, US News and World Report, and Consumer Reports. But not the peer-reviewed Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, continuously published for more than 40 years, nor the peer-reviewed journal Fluoride, also published for decades.
"Yes, there are about 2,000 indexed articles on Medline/PubMed just from Time magazine. Here: see for yourself what a great job we've done. Go to Medline ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed ) and do your own two-second search for "time magazine". Then try Newsweek: over 1,900 Medline responses. US News and World Report: over 2,000 articles indexed by Medline. Medline also indexes several hundred articles from Consumer Reports. Check and see. It is quickest if you search Medline/PubMed by putting quotes around the magazine's name.
"Medline even indexes two dozen articles from Reader's Digest. (search for "read dig.")
"Isn't this terrific?
"While it is embarrassingly obvious that these are not medical journals, there is nothing the public can do about it. Medline indexes what its Literature Selection Technical Review Committee tells it to. The committee's members are all appointed; none are elected. They meet behind closed doors. No public input is accepted. (1) No taxpayer can communicate with them or attend hearings, because there aren't any hearings.
"Quite a system, isn't it? But hey, even Al Capone knew that a picked jury guarantees the verdict. We have a good little racket going here, and we are not about to change it for 150 million silly vitamin-pill-popping voters. They will read what we decide they should read.
"Some WHOPPER members are concerned that, after this story broke on the internet, a few nutritional crackpots are writing to their Congressperson and Senators and demanding action. We understand that questions being asked include, 'Why is there journal censorship in a public library? Why the secrecy? Why is an unelected 'advisory' committee making decisions, in private, about what the public has access to on the National Library of Medicine's tax-funded Medline service? Should a select small group, an elite, control a public library in the Land of the Free?'
"Now to reassure you: if you are worried about pressure from the House and the Senate, relax. The people have better things to do with their time than to really push their elected representatives for action on something as small potatoes as the First Amendment. It is true that American patriot Samuel Adams said, 'When arbitrary rulers are put over them, when government is secret, the people become alarmed.'
"But don't worry. He's dead."
(1) Correspondence received from Medline: "If the (journal review) meeting were open to the public, word could circulate about a committee recommendation before a final determination was made . . . While names of review committee members are public information, NLM never discloses names of primary and secondary reviewers for specific journals. Observers could obtain that information and it could affect the openness of discussion and might result in contact with specific reviewers after the meeting. It is NLM's policy to prevent unnecessary contact with specific reviewers."
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Damien Downing, M.D.
Michael Gonzalez, D.Sc., Ph.D.
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Bo H. Jonsson, MD, Ph.D
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D.
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D.
Erik Paterson, M.D.
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