While I value the review articles disseminated via the Best Practice [Journal], and letters to the editor regarding
topics discussed, it disturbs me that, almost without exception, there is no authorship ascribed to the published material.
I note that relevant medical experts are named, and their contributions acknowledged, but the final document appears
as anonymous, in an uncomfortably, almost “Big Brother, 1984” style. This does not encourage an honest and egalitarian
discussion of topics covered.
Similarly, if a doctor writes in with a comment or question, his/her identity is always published, but the reply often
remains covert (and in a few cases, has been frankly condescending). It is a brave GP that dares to question such a lofty
Please explain why it is that for an article to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, the authors must be
clearly identified, along with their qualifications, their possible conflicts of interest, and their contact details,
yet BPAC does not hold to these internationally recognised and accepted standards. Am I missing something?
Dr Linda Witham, General Practitioner
We do not assign individual authorship to our articles as by the time they are published they have been drafted, reviewed,
corrected and edited by the entire publications team – the names of whom can be found on the inside cover of each edition
of Best Practice Journal and Best Tests. If an article has been contributed by an external author, this is indicated
at the start of the article. Almost all articles that appear in Best Practice Journal or Best Tests are written in-house
by our publications team, which is made up of medical writers and clinicians. Our Editor (Rebecca) and medical writers
(Mark, Gareth and Noni) have post-graduate health sciences-related qualifications and are members of the Australasian
Medical Writers Association. Our clinical team is made up of three experienced General Practitioners (Sharyn, Nigel
and Hywel) and Pharmacist (Kirsten). Our Editor-in-Chief (Murray) is also an experienced General Practitioner and CEO
of bpacnz. Staff bios for the entire team can be found on our website:
Our topics are decided on by our clinical advisory group which is made up of representatives from primary and secondary
care, and healthcare management (the names of whom can also be found inside the front cover of our publications). The
role of the group includes indicating key issues to cover within a topic, highlighting appropriate resources and suggesting
expert input if required. The article is scoped and drafted by our publications team, then sent out to review with our
clinical advisory group and a subject expert. Final revisions are then made by the clinical and editorial teams before
articles are compiled into a publication. Final sign-off of each edition is the responsibility of the Editor-in-Chief.
We base our information on New Zealand guidelines, where available. We then look to guidelines from the United Kingdom’s
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Australian, United States and Canadian guidelines, Cochrane
systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and where necessary, primary research. This information is then collated, revised
and presented in the context of the New Zealand healthcare system, with guidance from selected experts, depending on
the topic. The acknowledgements box at the end of an article lists the experts who have reviewed the article and provided
written comment. These experts do not write the articles and are not responsible for the final content.
You correctly point out the requirements for submission to peer reviewed journals. However, Best Practice Journal
is not, and does not wish to be, a peer reviewed journal – we aim to provide evidence-based, practical guidance for
healthcare professionals working in New Zealand. In relation to any conflict of interest, we do declare our funding
sources (PHARMAC and DHB Shared Services) and the names of our five shareholders are also inside the front cover of
all publications. We also maintain an active conflict of interest register for all staff.
In regards to correspondence items – correspondents have the option to have their letter published anonymously, which
some choose to do. If an expert is consulted for a response to a letter, this is acknowledged, otherwise the answers
can be assumed to be from the bpacnz publications team. The purpose of the correspondence section is to reflect on additional
questions which have arisen from articles and to promote debate on topical issues; we also publish any feedback on articles
or correspondence items online and many people comment directly there. It is certainly not our intention to convey a
condescending tone in a response to a correspondence item; we value the wide variety of opinion among the general practice
community in New Zealand and appreciate the time people take to write to us and engage with our articles.