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August 25, 1999

Editors and Owners—Stretching Reputation Too Far

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Dr Rennie is Deputy Editor (West), JAMA.

JAMA. 1999;282(8):783-784. doi:10.1001/jama.282.8.783

As I write, we are in the extraordinary position that the 2 largest medical journals in the world are without editors in chief because the owners have taken exception to the positions and actions of those editors.

George Lundberg, editor of JAMA, was removed on January 15, 1999. On July 25, New England Journal of Medicine editor Jerome Kassirer was ousted from a position he held with distinction for 8 years,1 and had expected to fill until 2003. Of the issues dividing owner and editor, the most important had to do with the application of the journal's impressive brand name to spin-off journals and to various consumer letters and magazines. These latter publications are advertised as being from "the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine." A true enough statement, but misleading in that these publications would not have gone through the rigorous competitive selection process of peer review and revision necessary to satisfy the high standards of that journal's editors.

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