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Editors' Note

Posted by plosmedicine on 13 Apr 2015 at 21:48 GMT

Following publication of this paper, the PLOS Medicine editors received correspondence from Rick Lines of IHRA, who expressed concerns over the article. After requesting and obtaining further clarification of these concerns from Dr. Lines, we conveyed the concerns to the authors of the paper and requested their response. After requesting and obtaining further clarification of the authors’ response, although differences between Dr. Lines and the authors remained regarding interpretation of the article, we did not find a factual basis for retraction or editor-initiated correction of the article.

In conveying our decision, we summarized the concerns and responses and shared our summary with both Dr. Lines and the authors. In recognition of the remaining differences, we indicated our intention to summarize the comments of both sides and offered each the opportunity to provide a final comment of up to 300 words in length to be posted with the editors’ summary. We noted that we thought it would be appropriate to provide readers with an opportunity to consider the concerns and responses for themselves.

We believe that sharing the opinions of both sides in this matter, which had already been publicly raised in the reader comments, would have been constructive and consistent with our goals for PLOS Medicine as a fully open access medical journal. In the event, however, neither of the two parties provided the requested final comment, and Dr. Lines indicated that he considered his complaint to be private correspondence and not intended for publication.

We appreciate our readers’ interest in the public commenting that open access journals are well positioned to promote, and trust that such conversations will ultimately prove constructive.

No competing interests declared.

RE: Editors' Note

RickLines replied to plosmedicine on 14 Apr 2015 at 07:18 GMT

Just to clarify the editor's note above, we have absolutely no problem at all in discussing our concerns about this article's factual inaccuracies and misrepresentations with any PLOS reader, or answering any questions.

Had the authors themselves contacted us for comment before writing this opinion piece, PLOS could have avoided publishing of a number of obvious factual errors.

Please feel free to contact me directly at rick.lines@ihra.net.

Dr Rick Lines
Executive Director
Harm Reduction International (aka IHRA)

No competing interests declared.

RE: Editors' Note

JimLSHTM replied to plosmedicine on 22 Apr 2015 at 07:50 GMT

We agree with the approach taken by the journal, welcome confirmation that there are no factual inaccuracies in our paper, and agree that publication of the correspondence would have been appropriate to provide readers with an opportunity to consider the concerns and responses for themselves. We would also have been happy to write a brief summary statement, an IT problem having prevented us being aware of the journal’s earlier invitation to provide one. We understand that the journal now considers this editorial note has closed this matter.

The authors

No competing interests declared.