Dr David Tuller:Lead Author of Cochrane’s New Bias Guideline is LP Study Co-Author


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Trial By Error: Lead Author of Cochrane’s New Bias Guideline is LP Study Co-Author
31 AUGUST 2019
By David Tuller, DrPH

Jonathan Sterne, a professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at Bristol University, is the corresponding author of Cochrane’s revised “risk of bias” tool, which BMJ published online on August 28th. Whatever the merits or defects of this revision, Professor Sterne’s involvement as the first of more than two dozen authors has to be considered unfortunate.

(Added: On the defect side, this revision makes it easier for unblinded studies relying on self-reported outcomes to be assessed as having “low risk” of bias. In fact, studies with this design are at high risk of bias. Yet they are favored by members of the CBT/GET ideological brigades. More on that in a later post.)

Professor Sterne has co-authored 11 papers with his Bristol colleague, Professor Esther Crawley, according to a search on PubMed. I have documented that at least two of these papers breached core principles of scientific inquiry–the Lightning Process trial published two years ago by Archives of Disease in Childhood, and a 2011 study in BMJ Open that exempted itself from ethical review on specious grounds. Neither article would likely have been published had the journals involved conducted sufficiently rigorous peer review to identify the disqualifying flaws.

[I should disclose here that Professor Crawley has publicly accused me of libel, defamation, and engaging in behavior warranting police intervention. The Bristol vice-chancellor’s office has made at least three complaints about me to the Berkeley chancellor but has provided no apparent evidence of wrong-doing or inaccuracy. I note ................................
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