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Bakewell and District Probus Club Changes in Publishing Science over Half a Century


Chairman, Ron Enock (left) and Kim Rainsford (right)

The speaker at a recent meeting of the Bakewell and District Probus Club was one of its members, Kim Rainsford, who is Emeritus Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Sheffield Hallam University and is an internationally recognized expert in the field of analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs. Throughout his career (which now spans more than 50 years) Kim has been involved in researching the safety and efficacy of these drugs and their side-effects. It has been in communicating his findings to fellow professionals and, correspondingly, learning about the discoveries of other scientists that he has become very much involved in the process of disseminating such information through the media of printed scientific journals and the internet. In particular, he has held the position of editor of a number of these publications, one of which goes by the seemingly complicated, but appropriately descriptive title of InflammoPharmocology - an aspect of medical science of special interest to Kim.

Over the course of his long career, the speaker has witnessed many changes affecting scientific publications. The advances in technologies have generally been of benefit, but more malign influences have started to appear, especially in the past two or three decades. Among these has been the increase in the amount of interference by some authorities and organisations eager to promote their own interests at the expense of accurate and serious research. Commercial pressures by publishers have tended to distort the balance of the articles and papers published. And the development of the internet has created many more opportunities for unscrupulous authors to plagiarise the work of others.

It is to tackle these challenges that editors, such as Kim, (and their colleagues) have to expend much time, effort and money in checking the integrity of the manuscripts submitted to them - a task that will only increase with the development of so-called artificial intelligence.

Details of the Bakewell and District Probus Club, including reports of earlier meetings, can be found on its website at www.bakewell probus.org


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