Editors’ Statement Regarding “Prevalence of unprofessional social media content among young vascular surgeons” J Vasc Surg 2020;72:667-71
A publication in the Journal of Vascular Surgery, first presented as a paper at the 2019 annual meeting of the Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery and posted in the December 2019 issue of the Journal of Vascular Surgery has been criticized for its methodology and the implicit bias found in its analysis. Many who have read the article expressed great concerns about the method of data collection, lack of diversity of the authors collecting data, as well as potential bias in the evaluation and the conclusion. Although the editors of the JVS believe that the authors of this paper were attempting to advise young vascular surgeons about the risks of social media, the review process failed to identify the errors in the design of the study with regards to conscious and unconscious bias and thus the published paper was interpreted as broadening inequities in surgery. It also became apparent that the authors did not receive the approval of the Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery (APDVS) to use its database in identifying the vascular surgeons in training who were evaluated for their participation in social media. The Editors therefore decided there was sufficient rationale to retract the article. Our decision was in line with the feedback we received from many of our readers, from members of the Society for Vascular Surgery and its leadership, and the APDVS. The authors of the manuscript agreed with our decision and they are fully committed to perform more informed research on these issues in the future with a diverse team.
Finally, we offer an apology to every person who has communicated the sadness, anger, and disappointment caused by this article. We have received an outpouring of constructive commentary on this matter, and we intend to take each point seriously and take resolute steps to improve our review process and increase diversity of our editorial boards.
Peter Gloviczki, MDPeter F. Lawrence, MDEditors, Journal of Vascular Surgery