ABS: Goodman, Statistical reviewing policies of medical journals
gwhitney at UTKUX.UTCC.UTK.EDU
Tue Oct 19 19:58:14 EDT 1999
E-Mail Address: sgoodman at welchlink.welch.jhu.edu
TITLE Statistical reviewing policies of medical journals - Caveat
AUTHOR Goodman SN, Altman DG, George SL
JOURNAL JOURNAL OF GENERAL INTERNAL MEDICINE 13: (11) 753-756 NOV 1998
Document type: Article Language: English Cited References: 29
Times Cited: 0
OBJECTIVE: To describe the current policies regarding statistical review of
clinical research in biomedical journals.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey.
PARTICIPANTS: Editors of biomedical journals that publish original clinical
MEASUREMENTS: General policies on statistical review, types of persons used
for statistical reviewing, compensation of statistical reviewers, percentage
of articles subject to such review, percentage of time statistical review
makes an important difference, journal circulation, and selectivity.
MAIN RESULTS: Of 171 journals, 114 (67%) responded to the survey. About one
third of journals had policies that guaranteed statistical review for all
accepted manuscripts. In approximately half of the journals, articles were
sent for statistical review at the discretion of the editor. There was some
evidence that statistical review policies differed between journals of
different circulation size. In journals in the top quartile of circulation
(> 25,000) the probability of definitely having a statistical review before
an acceptance decision was 52%, but it was only 27% in journals in the lower
three quartiles (p = .09). The probability of a statistical
consultant on staff ranged from 31% in the bottom quarter, to 58% in the
middle two, to 82% in the highest quarter (p < .001). Editors judged that
statistical review resulted in an important change in a manuscript about
half of the time.
CONCLUSIONS: Except in the largest circulation medical journals, the
probability of formal methodologic review of original clinical research is
fairly low. As readers and researchers depend on the journals to assess the
validity of the statistical methods and logic used in published reports,
this is potentially a serious problem. This situation may exist because the
cost of such statistical review can be considerable, and because finding
appropriate reviewers can be difficult. It may also exist partly because
editors or publishers may not regard such review as important. The
professions of medical publishing, statistics, epidemiology, and other
quantitative disciplines should work together to address this problem.
medical journals, statistical review
Goodman SN, Johns Hopkins Univ, Sch Med, Div Biostat, Ctr Oncol, 550 N
Broadway, suite 409, Baltimore, MD 21205 USA.
Johns Hopkins Univ, Sch Med, Div Biostat, Ctr Oncol, Baltimore, MD 21205
BLACKWELL SCIENCE INC, MALDEN
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