OK, just a little bit more on Inside Vaccines. Here is a post that is based on an editorial in the Indian Journal of Medical Research.
The first thing I would like to point out to the good people at Inside Vaccines is that the editorial is broadly pro-vaccine. The authors argue that the Indian Government “must resuscitate the ability to manufacture EPI vaccines within the public sector so public health is not held to ransom by agencies overseas” and conclude the piece by stating that: “Within the emerging scenario where expensive vaccines swallow up the less expensive options, India could emerge as the ethical EPI vaccine supplier to the world.” Their arguments revolve around the economics of vaccine provision. They argue not against vaccination, but for the provision of affordable vaccinations – views that could hardly be said to be in line with those of an anti-vaccination blog. But then, these points didn’t make the Inside Vaccines post. They seem content to cherry-pick the quotes that suit them. I was a little surprised that they would decide to spin information that could be easily checked though.
The second point I would like to make is that Inside Vaccines blog also has a curious statement: “Little wonder there is no abstract!” Inside Vaccines claim that they are looking at the science rather than dealing in propaganda, but this statement hints that there is some obvious reason why there is no abstract. They seem to be implying that this paper is somehow hidden or unavailable. The implication being that, because it’s critical of vaccine manufacturers, the piece is so unpopular with the powers-that-be that we are denied the opportunity to read an abstract. Well, we don’t need to read an abstract in order to find out what the authors wrote – the full text of the editorial is available. Free. This is the paper – see for yourself. So why didn’t Inside Vaccines give a link to the free full text? It could have easily been done.
Could there be another reason why this paper did not have an abstract on Pubmed? Yes. Editorials do not routinely have abstracts. For an example of this, try searching Pubmed for ‘cholesterol’ (or trauma, or cancer, or vitamin or…). and limit your search to editorials. I tried this and the first page of results for cholesterol showed 20 hits, of which 3 had links to abstracts, 3 had links to full text and 14 had the ‘no abstract’ icon. The next page had four links to abstracts and only one link to to full text – leaving fifteen results showing the ‘no abstract’ icon. So twenty nine out of the forty results were ‘no abstract’, which comes to 72.5% and my point is that it’s not unusual for an editorial to not have an abstract. Which makes the closing statement of the Inside Vaccines blog post highly misleading. This is probably just another example of the spin that Inside Vaccines put on information. Either that, or they didn’t realise that they were able to see the free full text. Which would be rather surprising for such an educated and wise assemblage of persons (scientists, authors, engineers, librarians, researchers, parents and grandparents – About Inside Vaccines) and is all the more unlikely given that they actually gave the PMID number (but no link to the free full text – that only arrived in the course of a comment from ‘Jupiter’). I’m finding it difficult to imagine what their thought processes were.