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Striving for a More Perfect Peer Review:  Editors Confront Strengths, Flaws of Biomedical Literature

Bridget M. Kuehn, MSJ
JAMA. 2013;310(17):1781-1783. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.280660.
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Chicago—“Most results in clinical research are false positives or substantially exaggerated,” said John Ioannidis, MD, to an audience of journal editors from around the world, gathered in September for the Seventh International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication, a quadrennial research meeting organized by JAMA and the BMJ (http://bit.ly/19gG1C8).

His stinging assessment of the peer-reviewed literature was one of many reminders that the field of biomedical publishing remains a work in progress nearly 2 and half decades after meeting organizers launched the Peer Review Congress as a means to promote research into the field and hold one another accountable. Such robust criticism continued throughout the meeting, with researchers and journal editors presenting evidence of bias, failure to publish results or report author conflicts of interest, and sloppy or inaccurate reporting of results.

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At a recent meeting in Chicago, John Ioannidis, MD, said most clinical study findings are wrong or much weaker than they appear.

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Drummond Rennie, MD, meeting organizer and Contributing Deputy Editor at JAMA, said the Peer Review Congress has helped draw attention to the corrosive effects of bias on the medical literature.

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