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The Letter ‘The meaning of the handshake towards the end of the consultation’1 from the April edition of the BJGP brought much amusement whether this is an ‘April fool’ or a piece of ‘off the wall’ research. I have to assume it is a joke for several reasons:
Anyway, what difference does it make except that you would have to wash your hands again.
Anyway, nice one. You nearly had me fooled into thinking both the Editor or the doctor had been daft publishing this when I realised it was April.
A more important debate is whether any journal be permitted to publish spoof material in Medline searchable format. I have long been of the opinion that for internationally-read journals the practice should be banned and that any breach should be regarded as research fraud. You may feel this is an overreaction but unfortunately I have seen spoof articles referenced in serious papers. The distinction is not always clear even to those whose first language is English and I believe it is insulting and arrogant to deceive other professionals who have to waste time trying to work out what is real.
At least the BJGP have not fallen into the practice of publishing pretend original research (or have they?)