Improved Editorial Practices May Reduce Positive Spin, Increase Objectivity in Peer-Reviewed Medical Journals


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    WVU's Dr. Safi Khan is part of a team that examined six prestigious medical journals for objectivity, finding phrasing that made research results more statistically significant than they are.

What’s the News?

West Virginia University researcher Dr. Safi U. Khan, an assistant professor in the School of Medicine, is part of a team that examined six prestigious medical journals and identified positive spin in how they portrayed cardiovascular trials. The researchers found that 57 percent of the abstracts—and 67 percent of the articles themselves—were phrased to make results seem more statistically significant than they were. 

Quotes and Comments

“These findings can serve as a wakeup call. I think journals should improve the quality control and review process of all submissions. In addition to searching for novel ideas—which appears to be the main focus of the journals—there should be a heavy emphasis on the statistical review of the manuscript since inaccurate reporting can have potential implications for the medical practice.” – Dr. Safi U. Khan, assistant professor of medicine

Read the research published in JAMA Network Open that suggests even the world’s top medical journals sometimes include misleading language in their coverage of cardiovascular research. 

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-WVU-

se/05/07/19

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