To recap, the proposed DSM-V (which defines the defines the diagnostic criteria for autism) has been criticized for several reasons, including its insular process. Of the process, Dr. Allen Frances writes:
The secretiveness of the DSM‐V process is extremely puzzling. In my entire experience working on DSM‐III, DSM‐IIIR, and DSM‐IV, nothing ever came up that even remotely had to be hidden from anyone. There is everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose from having a totally open process. Obviously, it is much better to discover problems before publication ‐and this can only be done with rigorous scrutiny and the welcoming of all possible criticisms.Apparently, DSM-V Task Force knows it all because, by all outward indications, they prefer a closed process. When the self-appointed stewards of psychiatric diagnosis speak, the rest of the psychiatric community must bow to their wisdom.
But! This week, in a small victory to the DSM-V critics, the American Psychiatric Association (APA), announced it would postpone publication of the controversial DSM-V until 2013. The APA previously insisted the DSM-V would be published in 2012, critics be damned. The change of heart may have been prompted by an editorial published by the New Scientist, which suggested that the DSM V be replaced by an open source model:
Scientific method over ego. Consider this blogger sold on the New Scientist proposal.
With the advent of the internet, there is no longer any compelling need to rewrite the diagnostic criteria for the whole of psychiatry in one go. Yes, diagnoses should be revised as new scientific findings come in. But for this, specialists can be assembled when necessary to address specific areas that have become outmoded. Their suggestions can be posted on the web for comment. More research can be commissioned, if necessary. And when consensus is reached, new diagnostic criteria can be posted online.
And speaking of arrogance, this week Tiger Woods learned he isn't beyond reproach either. Which is ironic because the DSM V Task Force would have pathologized Tiger's...er...proclivities if they had their wish. And they may still do so, but at least it won't happen until 2013. I hear they're going to use the extra time to do more research, so perhaps Tiger can be a subject. Arrogance vindicating arrogance.