This is a very long read that contains Bob Courtney's correspondence with the GET review author's . It is astonishing that, Bob, who became so ill from 2016/7 managed to accomplish so much for us. Bob is truly one of the community's heroes. Tom Kindlon, of course, played a crucial role too.
How to get a flawed systematic review and meta-analysis withdrawn from publication: a detailed example
by James C Coyne October 21, 2018
Robert Courtney’s wonderfully detailed cover letter probably proved decisive in getting the Cochrane review withdrawn, along with the work of another citizen scientist/patient advocate, Tom Kindlon.
Cochrane normally requires authors to agree to withdraw completed reviews that have been published. This withdrawal in the face of resistance from the authors is extraordinary.
There is a lot to be learned from this letter and the accompanying documents in terms of Courtney calmly and methodically laying out a compelling case for withdrawal of a review with important clinical practice and policy implications.
Especially take a look at the exchanges with the author Lillebeth Larun that are included in the letter.
Excerpt from the cover letter below:
It is my opinion that the published Cochrane review unfortunately fails to meet the standards expected by the public of Cochrane in terms of publishing rigorous, unbiased, transparent and independent analysis; So I would very much appreciate it if you could investigate all of the problems I raised in my submitted comments and ensure that corrections are made or, at the very least, that responses are provided which allow readers to understand exactly why Cochrane believe that no corrections are required, with reference to Cochrane guidelines.
On this occasion, in certain respects, I consider the review to lack rigour, to lack clarity, to be misleading, and to be flawed. I also consider the review (including the discussions, some of the analyses, and unplanned changes to the protocol) to indicate bias in favour of the treatments which it investigates.
Another key excerpt summarized Cour