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“Crap Detecting” with 2016 McGovern Speaker Ben Goldacre

As medical librarians, we are experts at contextualizing the way information is stored and disseminated. Our contribution to health care revolves around finding and synthesizing all relevant information on a given topic. We are challenged with finding the hard to find and being super searchers who are proficient at “crap detecting,” a competency that must be honed on a daily basis, and one we try to impart to students and clinicians alike.

Our 2016 John P. McGovern Award Lecturer, Ben Goldacre, is also a renowned crap detector. Goldacre, an award-winning writer, broadcaster, and medical doctor, specializes in unpicking scientific claims. He most recently coauthored a publication in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology that focused on the need for transparency and accountability in clinical and behavioral research.


Goldacre wrote the weekly “Bad Science” column in the Guardian from 2003 to 2011. Bad Science the book has sold over half a million copies worldwide, reached #1 on the paperback nonfiction charts, and is being published in 31 languages. In his second book, Bad Pharma, Goldacre puts the global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope to reveal flaws throughout the ecosystem of evidence-based medicine. In October 2014, his collected journalism was published in a volume entitled I Think You’ll Find It’s More Complicated Than That.

Goldacre’s areas of research and insight directly reflect and influence the lives of medical librarians. He has challenged the world of academic paywalls in publishing and consistently makes pleas for transparency related to accountability surrounding research data methods and published results. He is also a cofounder of, which campaigns internationally for all trials to be registered with their full methods and results available. Goldacre is an impassioned speaker and his ability to command and captivate will undoubtedly be a highlight of Mosaic '16.

Toronto medical librarians are excited to be hosting Goldacre and the  Mosaic ’16 annual meeting. We’ve enjoyed a vibrant summer rich with diverse events that included the Pan Am and Parapan Am games, a plethora of concerts and festivals and the usual highlights that make our city amazing. As a native Torontonian, I find it hard not to boast about how welcoming, diverse, and liveable our city is. Earlier this year, the Economist ranked Toronto as the world's best city to live in. More recently, the architecture and design publication Metropolis Magazine named Toronto the most liveable city in the world.

Of course, there are data and research to support these accolades. We hope you’ll find the buzz about Toronto to be absolutely evidence-based when you visit us in May 2016!

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