The British Medical Journal (BMJ) is under fire from AIDS researchers over a series of publications on its website. The postings — many of which are on the journal's 'Rapid Response' section — make up a steady stream of unreviewed articles from people who deny that HIV causes AIDS.
The disproportionate prominence of this discussion compared with other AIDS issues is angering some researchers. They complain that the credibility conferred on Rapid Responses by the BMJ label may mislead policy makers and members of the public over the debate.
Richard Smith, editor of the BMJ, admits that a problem of unmoderated forums is that one side of an argument can "lose by attrition" to a more vocal minority. But Smith also cherishes the principle of Rapid Responses, which is based on free speech.
Reference: Nature 426, 215 (2003)