More than a thousand healthcare professionals and scientists are boycotting the journal Nutrients because it publishes “egregious animal experiments,” according to a letter from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).
Participants will not publish in or serve as reviewers for Nutrients or any journals from parent company MDPI, according to the letter. They charge that the journal “continues to publish articles that violate its own ethics policy not to publish animal experiments for which alternatives exist.”
“When I became aware of the extensive animal use, especially where the objectives could have been achieved using human-based approaches, I decided to investigate further because I couldn’t compromise my own ethics,” Elizabeth Dean, PhD, a professor emeritus of physical therapy at the University of British Columbia in Canada, said in a press release.
Dean told the editors of Nutrients that the research they published was “sadistic, cruel, and unnecessary,” before resigning as a reviewer.
PCRM cited the example of one study that used 50 preterm piglets to evaluate probiotics as a treatment for necrotizing enterocolitis in infants — all of which were reportedly killed at the end of the experiment. Yet numerous clinical trials in humans have already shown that probiotic supplements can significantly reduce the condition in infants, according to PCRM. This violates the 3Rs principle of replacement for animal use alternatives, the group said.
This isn’t the first time PCRM has called on Nutrients and its publisher to review its animal experiment policies. In September 2022, the group garnered signatures from more than 800 healthcare professionals and scientists who supported implementing “a policy of publishing only studies using human participants or human data for nutrition research.”
“Despite repeated communications … we have seen little evidence that Nutrients or MDPI has meaningfully changed its behavior,” the letter states.
Signatories said they will support Nutrients once again when such a policy is “enacted and enforced.”
MDPI is an open-access publishing company based in Switzerland that manages 421 peer-reviewed journals, according to its website. Neither MDPI nor Nutrients responded to requests for comment on the boycott at the time of posting.
PCRM also noted that in 2018, senior leadership of Nutrients quit, charging they were pressured to publish mediocre papers, according to Science. Nutrients earns more than $16 million annually by charging authors thousands of dollars to publish their work, the group said.
“When it comes to the system Nutrients uses for increasing the flow of articles without discrimination for the types of studies it’s publishing, there is a clear lack of adherence to the journal’s own guidelines. This is morally wrong,” Richard Schmidt, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Mountain View, California, said in a press release.
“I absolutely think it’s setting a scary precedent for a business model that has real potential to corrupt the whole research arena,” he added.
Source link : https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/features/107489
Publish date : 2023-11-21 14:17:50
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