Why current publication practices may distort science

Posted By News On October 7, 2008 - 12:30am

The current system of publishing medical and scientific research provides "a distorted view of the reality of scientific data that are generated in the laboratory and clinic," says a team of researchers in this week's PLoS Medicine.

In their Essay, Neal Young (National Institutes of Health, USA), John Ioannidis (Tufts University School of Medicine, USA and University of Ioannina School of Medicine, Greece), and Omar Al-Ubaydli (George Mason University, USA) apply principles from the field of economics to present evidence consistent with a distortion.

There is an "extreme imbalance," they say, between the abundance of supply (the output of basic science laboratories and clinical investigations) and the increasingly limited venues for publication (journals with sufficiently high impact). The result is that only a small proportion of all research results are eventually chosen for publication, and these results are unrepresentative of scientists' repeated samplings of the real world.

The authors argue that there is a moral imperative to reconsider how scientific data are judged and disseminated.

A previous Essay by one of the co-authors, John Ioannidis, which was entitled "Why most published research findings are false" (http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124) has been the most viewed PLoS Medicine article of all time and was called "an instant cult classic" in a Boston Globe op-ed of July 27 2006 (http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2006/07/27/science_and_shams/).

Citation: Young NS, Ioannidis JPA, Al-Ubaydli O (2008) Why current publication practices may distort science. PLoS Med 5(10): e201. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050201

IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE PUBLISHED PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050201

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-05-10-ioannidis.pdf

CONTACTS: John Ioannidis University of Ioannina School of Medicine Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology University Campus Ioannina, Epirus 45110 Greece jioannid@cc.uoi.gr

Neal Young NHLBI Hematology Branch Bethesda, 20892-1202 United States of America youngns@mail.nih.gov

SLC2A9 is a high-capacity urate transporter in humans

Recent genome-wide association scans have found common genetic variants of the gene SLC2A9 to be associated with increased serum urate level and gout, according to a paper published in this week's PLoS Medicine. A team of researchers led by Mark Caulfield from Bart's and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry shows that the SLC2A9 gene, which encodes a glucose transporter, is also a high-capacity urate transporter, and thus possibly a new drug target for gout.

Citation: Caulfield MJ, Munroe PB, O'Neill D, Witkowska K, Charchar FJ, et al. (2008) SLC2A9 is a high-capacity urate transporter in humans. PLoS Med 5(9): e197. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050197

IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE PUBLISHED PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050197

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-05-10-caulfield.pdf

TRANSLATION OF THE ABSTRACT INTO SPANISH: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-05-10-caulfield-spanish.doc

TRANSLATION OF THE ABSTRACT INTO FRENCH: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-05-10-caulfield-french.doc

TRANSLATION OF THE ABSTRACT INTO ITALIAN: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-05-10-caulfield-italian.doc

Please note that the translations are the work of the authors of the study and PLoS is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

CONTACT: Mark Caulfield Bart's and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry Clinical Pharmacology Charterhouse Square London, EC1M 6BQ United Kingdom +44 207 882 3403 +442078823408 (fax) M.J.Caulfield@qmul.ac.uk

Also published this week in the PLoS Medicine magazine section:

Faecal and urinary incontinence after multimodality treatment of rectal cancer

Marilyne Lange and Cornelis van de Velde (Leiden University Medical Centre) discuss the differential diagnosis and management of incontinence after rectal cancer treatment, in a Learning Forum published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Citation: Lange MM, van de Velde CJH (2008) Faecal and urinary incontinence after multimodality treatment of rectal cancer. PLoS Med 5(10): e202. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050202

IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE PUBLISHED PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050202

PRESS ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-05-10-van-de-velde.pdf

CONTACT: Cornelis van de Velde Leiden University Medical Centre Department of Surgery P.O Box 9600 Leiden, ZH 2300 RC Netherlands +31 71 526 2309 +31 71 526 6750 (fax) c.j.h.van_de_velde@lumc.nl

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