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New James Coyne blog: "Was independent peer review of the PACE trial articles possible?"


Senior Member
The reviewers who really messed up in my mind were those on the recovery paper.

I think that PACE is just a prominent example of a wider failure to apply critical thinking in clinical psychology. It's not the only study with methodological weaknesses, it's not the only study that makes nonsense conclusions.

These people should have asked themselves long ago whether the failure of CBT and GET to increase actometer measured activity might mean that the therapies are ineffective and that they are only measuring a temporary placebo effect with their questionnaires.

We're seeing a systemic failure here, not just a few incompetent, crazy or corrupt researchers and peer reviewers.

Systemic failure also explains why almost nobody from inside the system is complaing about this sort of stuff.

I hope Coyne manages to drag this psychobabble cult, kicking and screaming, back into reality.
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Senior Member
We can name and shame in the hope that others will be dissuaded from performing sloppy work.

I agree and this is an argument I made on twitter yesterday in response to someone's handwringing claim that all researchers will be dissuaded from studying ME if we're critical of PACE. I'm sorry but if your work is so shit it can't survive critique by non-specialists on an internet message board then we don't need that kind of work being done on our illness IMO.


Senior Member
I thought it was an interesting blog (quite long to make the point but perhaps it needs to be to bring in the evidence).

I think we have talked about the uk ME world being small in the past and that it is hard to get grants or publications if you disagree with the prevailing view. I'm not sure that is too unusual in science although this is a small clique.

What Coyne introduces is the notion that they further controlled by making them part of PACE and thus reducing the likelihood of criticism by binding a community together in this way those inside are less likely to challenge (but I don't think they would anyway) and those on the edge, fringes or looking to come in won't want to upset this larger established community.

I do find it surprising the lack of criticism from the UK (and international) medical community and its important that people like Coyne address these issues and why they may have happened. Looking at networks of people, groups and how they interact is an important part of this.