By Anthony Rosner, PhD, LLD [Hon.], LLC, Robert Mootz, DC and Silvano Mior, DC, FCCS(C)Having grown up in a chiropractic family, I have been privileged to observe the profession's development over nearly half its existence, and for more than half that time as a full participant. It has been exciting to watch chiropractic grow out of persecuted marginality to become a vigorous mainstream profession, and extremely rewarding to be part of that process. The advancement and legitimation of chiropractic has been matched by developments in its literature, the emergence of peer-reviewed, primary-source journals coinciding with the latter stages of legitimation and an increasing emphasis on research.
By 1990 there were several of these journals and in May of that year, with the support of the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research, their editors formed the Chiropractic Research Journal Editors' Council. Since then, CRJEC has met annually to discuss current issues in chiropractic and biomedical publishing and to set standards and policies. The primary purpose of these standards is to ensure that material published in member journals is well-researched, coherently presented, and adequately supported by data and references. Other concerns council has addressed in forming its policies include access to the chiropractic literature through databases, conflicts of interest, research ethics, advertising ethics, and fraudulent publication. CRJEC publishes a report of each meeting in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.1-3
The members of CRJEC, listed at the end of this article, are bound by Council policies, however editors of other publications which also represent the chiropractic profession are not. It has become a matter of considerable concern that there is material still being published in some chiropractic journals, trade magazines, and tabloids which, in effect, compromises the profession's credibility. While it is outside the scope of CRJEC to be a watchdog in this regard, it is Council's aim to offer assistance and leadership. With this in mind, the authors of the following report, which was tabled for discussion at the 1993 meeting of CRJEC, have given permission for it to be published in Dynamic Chiropractic.
Discussion Paper by Committee on Ethics and Advertising StandardsBy Editors Russell W. Gibbons, Thomas Bergman, John Grostic
The 1992 third annual meeting of the Chiropractic Research Journal Editors' Council (CRJEC) in Chicago authorized the formation of a Committee on Ethics and Advertising Standards and asked that a preliminary report be made for CRJEC's 1993 meeting.
CRJEC expressed concerns about "the use and type of advertising that appears in the chiropractic literature" and said that chiropractors "must realize that the integrity of the profession is at risk when inappropriate advertising and/or classifieds appear in its professional journals."
In presenting these preliminary points as a discussion paper, members of the committee are aware that this is a sensitive issue among those who are involved in editing, production, publication, and marketing to and for the chiropractic profession.
Chiropractic does not enjoy the resources of the drug and pharmaceutical industry in the form of seemingly endless advertising revenues supportive of the hundreds of medical journals in North America. Chiropractic is restricted to x-ray and nutritional supplement advertising, with a smaller percentage from the physical therapy modalities.
An examination of the so-called "trade" publications or tabloid newspapers marketed to the chiropractors reveals a large-consumption advertising by "practice building" consultants and companies. Without any subjective commentary from this committee, it is apparent that this has been a continued source of negative external public relations by those medical "chiropractic watchers" who seek to discredit trends within the profession.
The discovery process of the Wilk case by George McAndrews and other counsel for the profession amassed a huge body of literature which brought little credit to many of the journals and publications within chiropractic in the period which encompassed the litigation.
Other groups, including the ACA, have sought to address the ethical issues involved in "practice building," further compounded in recent years by court decisions which have removed most restrictions on health providers who seek to advertise in the telephone directory business or yellow pages. It is not the intention of this committee to offer further observations in this area, other than to again quote Counsel McAndrews, who warned last year "of the enormous damage to the reputation of the profession and its members that many such unsubstantiated ads do."
It only seems logical that if CRJEC is committed to the upgrading and professional advancement of journals and serials directed toward the chiropractic profession, that it also offer suggestions or guidelines for ethics and advertising. Accordingly, the following areas of concern are submitted for further discussion and comments by editors and publishers of journals and trade publications directed toward chiropractic:
There are many other areas which this committee could present for discussion, and it will hopefully generate such commentary and additions. That is the purpose of this initial draft, and we welcome the contributions of all CRJEC editors and associates within the profession.
References (to Introduction)
Members of the Chiropractic Research Journal Editors Council:
Thomas Bergmann, DC
Mary Ann Chance, DC
John Grostic, DC
Robert Hazel Jr., DC
Grace Jacobs, DA
Dana Lawrence, DC
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 200 East Roosevelt Rd. Lombard IL 60148 Tele: (708) 268-6524 Fax: (708) 268-6554Simon Leyson, DC
European Journal of Chiropractic
Gwendwr, 16 Uplands Crescent
Uplands, Swansea, W. Glamorgan SA2 OPB
Brian McMaster, PhD
Chiropractic: The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation 741 Brady St. Davenport IA 52803 Tele: (319) 326-9190 Fax: (319) 326-5826
Silvano Mior, DC, FCCS(C)
Robert Mootz, DC
Anthony Rosner, PhD
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