Last autumn the chief editor of European Journal of Epidemiology (EJE) accepted to publish a rejoinder to Radovanovic. I had sent the editor a critical analyze of Radovanovic’s article in this paper, where he had tried to prove Kosova was in 1990 hit by mass hysteria. But not until Mai 26 the rejoinder was sent to EJE, and signed by Albanian doctors. Four days later the editor’s answer arrived. and it was a NO. He didn’t accept the rejoinder. It must be said that the rejoinder text was very similar to the text he got last autumn, and which he accepted.
I am still uncertain, why he said NO to the rejoinder. I have written and asked, but he has not answered. Maybe EJE is on holydays.
Here you can read the rejoinder.
There is reason to believe so:
The editor allowed us to write a new rejoinder, but added new demands. Earlier he had only one condition: We must deliver “new data”. No problem, according to me, as Radovanovic’s article has not been criticized earlier. But now we were not permitted to express “new opinions or reassessment of existing evidence”.
The new demands were chocking and difficult to understand!
Is Radovanovic’s article expressing “existing evidence”? So, by criticizing him we reassess (reconsider) an opinion, which is regarded as a fact you can’t criticize!?
Dr Hofman got a new mail, in which I above all asked about the ban to express new opinion and reassessment of existing evidence. He answered, but only by taking back his rejoinder offering. His explanation was he found it “most likely that (a new rejoinder) will not satisfy the EJE criteria”.
We think usually scientific papers welcome new opinions and attempts to reassess existing evidence. It is a way for science to grow.
Why did the editor not keep his promise?
The reason may be, we had not only criticized Radoovanovic’s conclusions. We could also point at mistakes in his fact description – and that he has defended Milosevic’s oppression policy in Kosova. Radovanovic is a researcher with reputation. So, maybe Dr Hofman did not dare to publish the rejoinder. But the patients, who got serious symptoms in the poisoning, have lost a chance to obtain redress.