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Underreporting research is scientific misconduct (Chalmers, 1990)

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Dolphin, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Ben Goldacre just highlighted this on Twitter. I know some people here are interested in the area.
    *I gave each sentence its own paragraph
    alex3619, biophile, SOC and 1 other person like this.
  2. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Logan, Queensland, Australia
  3. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Somewhere near Glasgow, Scotland
    yeah, we rely on NEGATIVE studies even ore so actually than postivie (since science works by disproving essentially, and not everything will be positive)
    so to leave such out, for fraud (pharma corps!) or because they aren't "sexy" (pay for journals etc) is dangerous
  4. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Yes, agree, although it's not necessarily just drug trials where some researchers may not publish data: researchers can be attached to, and have careers associated with, all sorts of theories e.g. that specific non-pharmacological therapies are useful for condition X.
  5. biophile

    biophile Places I'd rather be.

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    What about the grey area of exclusion of studies from systematic reviews? I am sure everyone remembers the CBT/GET trial by Nunez et al. (2011) which found worsened outcomes on average. Soon after, a meta-analysis was published by Castell et al. (2011) (who are pro-CBT?) which excluded that particular trial from consideration because it involved combination treatment (even though GET is often part of CBT). I can imagine other systematic reviews doing the same, ie Cochrane on CBT, even though GET is often part of CBT. It is possible that some negative studies such as Nunez et al. (2011) will never enter the same literature being used to claim that CBT and GET are safe and effective.
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  6. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    I have read there are cases where a pharmacological research might have several studies, and the most favourable one is published. I have not chased this down to confirm it with reliable sources (yet) but its a concern. Clearly all trials need to be pre-registered, and all data needs to be made public. Transparency is necessary for accountability, and a lack of accountability can derail any large system such as a company or even government.

    Its why empty assertions need to be challenged when they are of serious public interest. Its why properly functioning FOI is important for democracy. Its why the media needs to reorganize to deal with the internet, because without good information from investigative journalists the truth rarely comes out.

    I have almost finished reading The Silent State by Heather Brooke, who clearly shows many problems with transparency and accountability in the UK. She does however have an agenda, and its not always clear where her agenda distorts the book, though in a few places I spotted it. However the facts of many of these issues, presuming she got the facts right, do show systematic failure in accountability and transparency in the UK. Many government agencies seem to be unaccountable, and some have been caught misrepresenting the facts. There is apparently more concern over spinning the facts via public relations than in making them visible and so enabling problems to be solved.

    It is clear to me that we need open publishing of scientific papers, we need evidence based medicine to be truly advisory and seen as nothing more, we need full data disclosed for studies, and not just pharmcological intervention - the full data needs to be revealed regarding the PACE trial.

    Data can be fraudulently constructed or altered in science, particularly in psychiatry. There have been many instances of this. However having the full data available means many scientists and statisticians can review it, and this is how many frauds are caught.

    These problems though are similar to that we face in making government, bureaucracy and big business accountable. I think the same principles often apply. The more we make things transparent, and the more the facts are investigated, the more we improve the science, or government, or the banking sector. Secrecy is the enemy of democracy.
  7. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Thanks all.
  8. biophile

    biophile Places I'd rather be.

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    In the dark

    New Scientist | Issue 2437

    Comment > Comment and Analysis (p19)

    06 March 2004

    Drug companies should be forced to publish all the results of clinical trials. How else can we know the truth about their products, asks Iain Chalmers:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18124373.100-in-the-dark.html

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  9. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Just heard Sir Iain on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, arguing for full publication of all trial data. He said that the MRC signed up to this - I didn't catch when.

    I haven't been following the PACE issues in detail but aren't people having to use FOI to try to get at the data? Is there a quick summary of the issues somewhere that someone can link me to?
    Dolphin likes this.
  10. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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  11. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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  12. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Hope it doesn't get you down Sasha. GL.
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