Contrasting Perspectives in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

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Contrasting Perspectives in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

David C. Poole, Ph.D., FACSM |  Nov. 28, 2018

When Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (MSSE)’s Editor-in-Chief, Bruce Gladden, Ph.D., FACSM, asked me to consider the position as Associate Editor-in-Chief for Contrasting Perspectives (CP) I didn’t need much time for contemplation. I consider that CP articles occupy a position at the very heart of MSSE and ACSM’s missions to review, publish and promote the best science across our fields of interest. The first CP under my watch is published this month (November, 50:2379-82) in MSSE and is already generating substantial readership numbers and letters:

The respiratory compensation point and the deoxygenation break point are/are not valid surrogates for critical power and maximum lactate steady state”

Proponents: Daniel A. Keir, Silvia Pogliaghi, Juan M. Murias

Opponents: Ryan M. Broxterman, Jesse A. Craig, Russell S. Richardson

As a young scientist in the 1980’s I was captivated at the Federation (Experimental Biology’s precursor) and ACSM meetings by vocal debates from scientific giants. Indeed, watching Brian J. Whipp and George A. Brooks spar over the scientific bases (or not) of the “Anaerobic Threshold” concept helped convince me that a scientific career could be both immensely rewarding and, above all, fun! 

A CP entitled “The anaerobic threshold concept is/is not valid in physiology and medicine” is underway for publication in 2019 and will assess where we are now in this fascinating saga. Not only will this present an intriguing history for our less senior readers but it will also look at the concept’s present utility and future research imperative.

At national scientific meetings, well-posited, contemporary and, above all, pithy debates pack the auditoriums and scintillate audiences much like medieval duels must have done. Recently, at the Integrative Physiology of Exercise meeting in September 2018, the irrepressible Mike Joyner, M.D., FACSM, squared off against legendary genetics researcher Claude Bouchard, Ph.D., FACSM. Their debate will be encapsulated in a CP entitled “Genetics really do/do not influence exercise capacity or trainability.” Until then, you can read a blog recapping the event.  


Following Joseph Joubert’s tenet that “The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress” CPs by their very nature and eponymous style permit high visibility and, above all, seek scientific clarity.

Given “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people” (Socrates), so CPs avoid ad hominem arguments and focus on the data and their interpretation from opposing viewpoints. This serves the time-honored adage that progress emerges more readily from error than confusion.

As Associate Editor-in-Chief for Contrasting Perspectives I am always interested in what MSSE readers and ACSM attendees are interested in seeing debated. Please feel free to send me your ideas (as a brief statement that can be posited in the positive and negative) and also, and most importantly, a short list of potential proponents/opponents. MSSE plans to publish ~two CPs per year.

So, I hope that you will join me in supporting MSSE’s CP initiative and continuing to promote the best science for our journal. For those unfamiliar with the CP mechanism, author guidelines are appended below.

And do please be on the look-out for Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., FACSM, and Steven Blair, P.Ed., FACSM, facing off against John Jakicic Ph.D., FACSM, Renee Rogers, Ph.D., and Joseph Donnelly, Ed.D., FACSM, in their CP entitled: “The health risks of obesity have/have not been exaggerated” scheduled for publication in the January 2019 edition of MSSE!

Cheers and thanks, David 

Contrasting Perspectives Guidelines and Information

Topic & Authorship selected/invited by Associate Editor-in-Chief for Contrasting Perspectives in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief

Rules and Instructions for Authors

Format:  Initial Perspective Pro (1500 words) followed by Con (1500 words) followed by Responses/Rebuttals (Pro 1000 words, Con 1000 words) which end in a concise (one to five sentences) summary, clearly indicated as: Concluding Statement.  Authors are to use appropriate literature citations to support their arguments, but are encouraged to be selective (references will not be included in the word count).  It is recommended that authors use figures and tables judiciously since these too will be included in the word count using a formula determined by the Managing Editor.

General Details:  Authors will be allowed the widest latitude in interpreting published data in support of their perspective. Each author will be provided the opposing author’s perspective for use in preparing a response/rebuttal, and each author will be encouraged to make specific recommendations for needed research studies, and each allowed a concluding statement. The Editor-in-Chief for Contrasting Perspectives will establish tight timelines for initial and response/rebuttal submissions.

Peer-review:  These papers will not be peer-reviewed in the traditional sense. Editorial review will be limited to format and fact checking (authors must not misrepresent what is published) to expedite publication. The Editor-in-Chief for Contrasting Perspectives will oversee the review process and will appoint Associate Editors, Editorial Board Members, or invited Ad Hoc Reviewers to assist as required.

David C. Poole, Ph.D., FACSM currently serves as the MSSE Associate Editor-in-Chief for Contrasting Perspectives. He is a University Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Kinesiology, Anatomy and Physiology at Kansas State University.