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I’m a reserve officer in the Greek army (captain)… But I had to google how to tie a tie for the inaugural, even though I used to do it all the time when I was serving…"

Professor Evan Kontopantelis delivered his inaugural lecture 'Well you can prove anything with facts, can't you?' at the University of Manchester on Wednesday, 14 November. Evan's main areas of research are epidemiology, public health, primary care, health services research and  methodology.

We asked Evan why he thought it was important to talk about facts in a 'post-truth' world

"We live at a time where there is information overload and it becomes increasingly difficult to separate truth from fiction (and sometimes it does not even matter since the damage has already been done and it is very difficult to rectify – politically or otherwise, for example see Brexit or the MMR vaccine controversy).

I wanted to explore how that is relevant and a threat to evidence based medicine. My core argument was that peer review is fundamental in this, and we need to support the model, for all its obvious problems. Nevertheless, changes are needed for the model to survive – the only aspect of the work that is compensated is that of the journal, and publishers end up with astronomical profit margins. So the current model is creaking and numerous bogus journals have entered the stage, trying to take advantage of this inherent fault in the system of unpaid work by authors, editors and reviewers. If this doesn’t change, 'fake news' may become a major problem for evidence based medicine in the near future.

I finished off the session with some fun facts about statistics, everyone loves those…"