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Editor's Page

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Last April I received a telephone call from Lawrence K. Altman, who identified himself as a science writer, and who wanted to discuss two subjects dealing with material that had appeared on the Editor's pages of the JOURNAL. We had a long, usually amicable, discussion and a few weeks later one of these topics was noticed by him in a newspaper article. Excerpts are:

“Another problem involves the failure to provide promised backup data for important assertions.

“Two years ago a paper in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene reported that acute respiratory infections were the leading cause of death in children in developing countries. The paper relied heavily on another paper the Journal said would be published later. But the Journal did not publish the second paper and the reference in the first paper still stands.

“Dr. William D. Tigertt, the Journal's editor, said he did not publish the second paper because of differences of opinion about its writing style, not its scientific merit.