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Do you remember that Seinfeld episode when Elaine admits to giving a fake telephone number to guys she meets but doesn’t want to date? The purpose, of course, is it allows her to avoid a confrontation either at the time of the initial meeting or on the phone later during which she would need to tell the prospective suitor she is not interested. Instead of dealing with the real issue honestly and head on, she manufacturers a piece of false evidence so she can avoid dealing with the real problem.
The other day I received in the mail something that looked like a new chiropractic research journal. With a traditional medical journal type cover, there was no flash, no pictures, just a listing of the articles inside and their authors. The journal was entitled, “The Industry Compendium of Chiropractic Research” vol 56, no. 9.
Hell, I was impressed. How did I not hear that a new chiropractic journal was started, produced so slickly and mailed to chiropractors who hadn’t even paid for subscriptions? I have also been hearing how difficult and expensive it can be to keep a print journal afloat and how many medical journals are finding it necessary to move to electronic, on-line only versions.
Something wasn’t quite right.
The smaller print on the cover of this “journal” said, “Supplement to Chiropractic Economics,” a trade magazine known for glossy ads and fluffy articles. Everything changes once the Compendium is actually opened. Just about every article, some of which are lacking authors names, all of which are lacking statements of funding support, is followed by an advertisement for the very product discussed in the article.
A topical analgesic does well in a clinical trial, there follows an ad for that analgesic. Next, an article on the efficacy of a nutritional supplement followed by an ad for that nutritional supplement. In all, it was insulting that the word “research” was placed on the cover. Worse yet, there are a lot of people in chiropractic who will mistake this magazine for actual, high-quality research.
There is a significant body of research attributable to the chiropractic profession but there is much more that needs to be accomplished. Currently, there is a lack of financial resources and a shortage of qualified individuals necessary to carry forth the work. The fact that a trade publication, Chiropractic Economics, is interested in advancing the body of research within chiropractic is noble and welcomed. They could make a donation to private researchers, develop an award for research, support fellowships or one of a thousand other ways they could actually advance research within the profession. Like Elaine and her fake phone numbers, Chiro Eco’s fake journal avoids dealing with the problem head on and instead, they produced a fake research journal in the hopes of advancing their vendor’s agendas at the expense of intellectual honesty and impartiality.