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Arizona doctors among boycott of journal Nutrients over ethical concerns

More than 1,100 experts have joined the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in boycotting the medical journal Nutrients over ethical concerns.

The move follows a tepid response to a letter sent last year and signed by 800 doctors, nurses and scientists, several from Arizona.

Scientific and medical ethics generally hold that it’s more ethical to use human subjects, organs and tissues in research when possible.

Nutrient’s own guidelines say as much; but a PCRM review found one-fifth of the journal’s papers last year used animals — unnecessarily in almost every case.

The boycott includes Nutrients’ publisher, MDPI, which issues 420 journals and charges thousands per published article. That's a business model many worry discourages careful scrutiny of papers.

PCRM is also hoping to convince the publishers of MEDLINE, the leading bibliographic database for life sciences, to reconsider whether the journal belongs on its index.

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Nicholas Gerbis joined KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk in 2016. A longtime science, health and technology journalist and editor, his extensive background in related nonprofit and science communications inform his reporting on Earth and space sciences, neuroscience and behavioral health, and bioscience/biotechnology.Apart from travel and three years in Delaware spent earning his master’s degree in physical geography (climatology), Gerbis has spent most of his life in Arizona. He also holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Arizona State University’s Cronkite School and a bachelor’s degree in geography (climatology/meteorology), also from ASU.Gerbis briefly “retired in reverse” and moved from Arizona to Wisconsin, where he taught science history and science-fiction film courses at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is glad to be back in the Valley and enjoys contributing to KJZZ’s Untold Arizona series.During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gerbis focused almost solely on coronavirus-related stories and analysis. In addition to reporting on the course of the disease and related research, he delved into deeper questions, such as the impact of shutdowns on science and medicine, the roots of vaccine reluctance and the policies that exacerbated the virus’s impact, particularly on vulnerable populations.