Cause for concern Douglas P. Zipes, MD, Editor-in-chief I do not write many editorials because I feel my role as editor-in-chief is to be as impartial as possible. In my mind, being editor does not automatically instill in me wisdom exceeding that possessed by any other, nor thoughts more interesting or profound, that readers want to hear what I have to say on a regular basis. However, the recent events that transpired following publication in HeartRhythm of R. Hauser’s article (“Deaths Caused by the Failure of Riata and Riata ST Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator Leads”)1 have compelled me to speak out. We are all familiar with Churchill’s famous comment that, “Democracy is the worst form of government, but it is better than any other . . .” The same might be said of the peer review process or even our judicial system. I think the latter two are similar. A litigant has his/her day in court and is judged based on the merits of the case. One can disagree with the Court’s decision, but cannot demand the Court rescind judgment without traversing a defined legal process. Similarly, the peer review process is a time-honored, wellchoreographed procedure that has served the intellectual world
for several hundred years. Scholarly works in multiple disciplines are judged by a community of experts who render decisions to accept, revise, or reject that are overseen by the editor functioning much like the judge in the courtroom. While occasional decisions may be incorrect, and fail to identify a submission of low (or high) quality, one containing incorrect data, or even one that is fraudulent, in the main the system works, just as the judicial system does. And, as with the latter, if one disagrees with facts/statements in a publication, there is a well-defined approach that can begin with a letter to the editor or submission of one’s own data for peer review to counter the conclusions in the article. So, for all their warts, democracy, the judiciary, and the peer review process are the best we have and must be upheld to a high standard by all of us. Truth always rises to the surface . . . in some cases, it just takes longer than others.
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1. Hauser RG, Abdelhadi R, McGriff D, Retel LK. Deaths caused by the failure of Riata and Riata ST implantable cardioverter-defibrillator leads. Heart Rhythm 2012. In press.