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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 45-

The editorial and its aftermath

MK Unnikrishnan 
 Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Manipal, India

Correspondence Address:
M K Unnikrishnan
Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Manipal

How to cite this article:
Unnikrishnan M K. The editorial and its aftermath.Indian J Pharmacol 2004;36:45-45

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Unnikrishnan M K. The editorial and its aftermath. Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2004 [cited 2022 Jan 22 ];36:45-45
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“Democracy is a state of mind”

- Boutros Boutros Ghali

The flutter of resentment caused by a recent editorial[1] by B. Gitanjali (Section Editor) brings to focus issues of far greater concern than what the editorial actually addressed. I do not think the bitterness is related to pharmacology, not even science. The central issue here is freedom of expression and our ability to tolerate dissent.

The essence of democracy lies in the willingness to appreciate and accommodate dissent, tolerate plurality of opinion and support the freedom of expression. Unfortunately, the unanimous condemnation of the editorial by the executive committee challenges editorial privileges and the freedom of expression.

Is it not an irony of fate that this debate took place at the Constitution Club, New Delhi?

The argument that the editorial was 'deficient in science and therefore inappropriate' is weak and untenable. Science is not independent of the scientist and the world he/she lives in. Many reputed journals (including the most technical ones) devote a few pages to the social, cultural and political aspects of science. The most prestigious journals such as Nature and Science are read more often for these pages of general interest than for abstruse technical stuff. I am sure the circulation will improve if IJP includes more such articles.

Editorials/articles such as this could be challenged once again on the question of 'inappropriate scientific content'. Therefore it is both urgent and important to lay down a comprehensive and explicit editorial policy. And editorial freedom, within the policy framework, should be respected.

My comments are not related to the opinions expressed by the above editorial per se. The 36th Annual Conference was certainly not deficient in scientific content. I often found it difficult to choose between two sessions, both of them equally good. The opening talk by Salvador Moncada was a treat by itself. I also appreciate the decision to schedule the inaugural session during the unobtrusive evening hours, enabling the politically disinterested delegates to have a break.


1Gitanjali B. Bags, banquets and boring speeches: The bane of conferences. Indian J Pharmacol 2003;35:348.