Comment on protracted moderation of a comment: BMC Cancer, WDDTY and homeopathy

Concomitant with airing my recent take on QuackRag WDDTY‘s clumsy referencing, I proceeded (after previous attempt to contact the corresponding author via the e-mail address provided for the purpose proved fruitless) to post the following as a Reader comment on the cited paper at BMC Cancer:

‘Without homeopathic remedies, is care ‘homeopathic’?

I came across this reference in an article entitled ‘Homeopathy is more than placebo’ in the latest issue of the magazine ‘What Doctors Don’t Tell You’, on sale in various supermarkets in the UK.

Do the authors consider that the title of this magazine piece is used appropriately; ie do they concur with it as a statement, and with the citing of this paper in a magazine endorsing homeopathy?

Which was promptly, automatically acknowledged thus:

‘Thank you for contributing to the discussion of BMC Cancer 2011, 11:19


Your comment is under moderation and will appear on the site provided it contributes to the topics and complies to our standard terms & conditions.

You will receive an email notification when your comment has been approved or rejected.

If you have any question concerning this posting, please email us at’

Under moderation? After a lapse encompassing two full business days, I decided to accept the closing invitation via that editorial e-mail address:

‘Dear Sir/Madam,

I note that my comment contribution has not yet appeared on the site.

Could you kindly advise as to whether it has been approved or rejected?

With thanks for your time,

Yours etc’

Which has not been acknowledged, let alone answered. So, considering the possibility of a problem with the editorial e-mail address, I yesterday forwarded via the separate ‘info’ address, and received a prompt reply informing me that my ‘… message has been forwarded to the Editorial Department’, which ‘… will contact you shortly.’

And which has still yet to happen – and, as I write, my (I still consider reasonable, fair and appropriate) comments have still not surfaced.

Of interest, this journal also provides a paper’s ‘Pre-publication history‘, making available to all the ‘Pre-publication versions of this article and reviewers’ reports’. I’m not going to concern myself here with the peer reviews of this ‘Highly accessed’ paper, other than to quote from the second a pertinent comment:

‘This publication will be discussed controversial in future.’

Well it might be – if allowed! Is two years into the future too late? A week after submitting my comment, notification of neither approval nor rejection has been forthcoming. Why is it taking so long? Prior restraint? I’m not assuming inefficiency; could be some reasonable explanation for low prioritising (short-staffed/over-busyness?) – in which case, I’ll happily edit this post, should my comment appear soon. But why, in an Open Access journal with publicly available pre-publication histories, and a facility for reader discussion, is it so difficult to post valid comment?

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