Scientists often evaluate other people's theories by the same standards they apply to their own work; it is as though scientists may believe that these criteria are independent of their own personal priorities and standards. As a result of this probably implicit belief, they sometimes may make less useful judgments than they otherwise might if they were able and willing to evaluate a specific theory at least partly in terms of the standards appropriate to that theory. Journal editors can play an especially constructive role in managing this diversity of standards and opinion. (+info)
The role of community review in evaluating the risks of human genetic variation research.
The practicality and moral value of community review of human genetic research has become a focus of debate. Examples from two Native American communities are used to address four aspects of that debate: (1) the value of community review in larger, geographically dispersed populations; (2) the identification of culturally specific risks; (3) the potential conflict between individual and group assessments of research-related risks; and (4) the confusion of social categories with biological categories. Our experiences working with these two communities suggest that: (1) successful community review may require the involvement of private social units (e.g., families); (2) culturally specific implications of genetic research may be identifiable only by community members and are of valid concern in their moral universes; (3) community concerns can be incorporated into existing review mechanisms without necessarily giving communities the power to veto research proposals; and (4) the conflation of social and biological categories presents recruitment problems for genetic studies. These conclusions argue for the use of community review to identify and minimize research-related risks posed by genetic studies. Community review also can assist in facilitating participant recruitment and retention, as well as in developing partnerships between researchers and communities. (+info)
Where do UK health services researchers publish their findings?
Health services research has emerged as the third vital requirement for understanding and improving health care, alongside basic science and clinical research. This has coincided with more stringent management of research, in particular by funding bodies. The latter are seeking to use bibliographic databases to aid the monitoring of the output of their investments. The principal source of data in the UK is the Research Outputs Database (ROD) set up by the Wellcome Trust primarily to monitor basic and clinical research. Health services researchers' output is difficult to monitor in view of the large number and wide variety of journals in which they publish. In addition, nearly half the journals (representing 35% of the articles) are not currently covered by the ROD. Funding bodies will underestimate the quantity of health services researchers' output unless they take these findings into account. (+info)
The fate of neuroradiologic abstracts presented at national meetings in 1993: rate of subsequent publication in peer-reviewed, indexed journals.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Abstract presentations are a valuable means of rapidly conveying new information; however, abstracts that fail to eventually become published are of little use to the general medical community. Our goals were to determine the publication rate of neuroradiologic papers originally presented at national meetings in 1993 and to assess publication rate as a function of neuroradiologic subspecialty and study design. METHODS: Proceedings from the 1993 ASNR and RSNA meetings were reviewed. A MEDLINE search encompassing 1993-1997 was performed cross-referencing lead author and at least one text word based on the abstract title. All ASNR and RSNA neuroradiologic abstracts were included. Study type, subspecialty classification, and sample size were tabulated. Publication rate, based on study design and neuroradiologic subspecialty, was compared with overall publication rate. Median duration from meeting presentation to publication was calculated, and the journals of publication were noted. RESULTS: Thirty-seven percent of ASNR abstracts and 33% of RSNA neuroradiologic abstracts were published as articles in indexed medical journals. Publication rates among neuroradiologic subspecialty types were not significantly different. Prospective studies presented at the ASNR were published at a higher rate than were retrospective studies. There was no difference between the publication rate of experimental versus clinical studies. Neuroradiologic abstracts were published less frequently than were abstracts within other medical specialties. Median time between abstract presentation and publication was 15 months. CONCLUSION: Approximately one third of neuroradiologic abstracts presented at national meetings in 1993 were published in indexed journals. This rate is lower than that of abstracts from medical specialties other than radiology. (+info)
One editor's views on conflict of interest.
The purpose of this article is to discuss the importance of recognizing conflict of interest or bias situations in the peer review and publication process of research papers and to identify some important guidelines or policies that help to minimize these situations. Communication of thoughts, ideas, and information is the basis of how we function as a society. Communicating research results requires us to clearly and accurately communicate all aspects of the research process, including the appropriate interpretation of results. A working definition for conflict of interest or bias with regard to publishing research results is that conflict of interest is a situation in which personal benefit (either direct or indirect) takes priority over the clarity and(or) accuracy of reporting research. These situations are ethical issues and can represent either real or assumed situations. It is true that the review and publication process is not perfect; thus, some bias probably is always present and can be brought to the review and publication process by either the author or those responsible for the process. However, conflict of interest or bias that detracts from the objective evaluation of research or the integrity of a scientific journal is inappropriate. Conflict of interest or bias situations can occur at all levels of the review and publication process and should be dealt with on a factual basis. This article describes several situations as examples and several important guidelines that help minimize the occurrence of conflict of interest or bias. (+info)
Medical costs of smoking in the United States: estimates, their validity, and their implications.
OBJECTIVE: To compare estimates of the medical costs of smoking in the United States and to consider their relevance to assessing the costs of smoking in developing countries and the net economic burden of smoking. DATA SOURCES: A Medline search through early 1999 using keywords "smoking" and "cost", with review of article reference lists. STUDY SELECTION: Peer-reviewed papers examining medical costs in a single year, covering the non-institutionalised American population. DATA EXTRACTION: Methods underlying study estimates were identified, described, and compared with attributable expenditure methodology in the literature dealing with costs of illness. Differences in methods were associated with implied differences in findings. DATA SYNTHESIS: With one exception, the studies find the annual medical costs of smoking to constitute approximately 6-8% of American personal health expenditures. The exception, a recent study, found much larger attributable expenditures. The lower estimates may reflect the limitation of analysis to costs associated with the principal smoking-related diseases. The higher estimate derives from analysis of smoking-attributable differences in all medical costs. However, the finding from the most recent study, also considering all medical costs, fell in the 6-8% range. CONCLUSIONS: The medical costs of smoking in the United States equal, and may well exceed, the commonly referenced figure of 6-8%. This literature has direct methodological relevance to developing countries interested in assessing the magnitude of their current cost-of-smoking burden and their future burdens, with differences in tobacco use histories and the availability of chronic disease treatment affecting country-specific estimates. The debate over the use of gross or net medical cost estimates is likely to intensify with the proliferation of lawsuits against the tobacco industry to recover expenditures on tobacco-produced disease. (+info)
Content and quality of currently published phase II cancer trials.
PURPOSE: A number of statistical methods have been proposed for the design and analysis of phase II studies based on dichotomous outcomes. To investigate to what extent such methods are in current use, we conducted a survey of published studies. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We identified studies by conducting a computerized literature search of MEDLINE. We considered trials on systemic antineoplastic treatments described as phase II or pilot. The search was limited to articles written in English and published in 1997. RESULTS: Three hundred eight trials were identified. The majority, ie, 295 (95.8%), had been conducted as single-arm studies, with objective tumor response as the primary efficacy end point. An identifiable statistical design was reported for only 58 (19.7%) of these trials. The quality in reporting the statistical design and compliance with the design in carrying out the study or results interpretation were frequently poor. The frequency of reporting the statistical design was not shown to increase over the years of study start and was not associated with sample size or study duration. Instead, a significant association was found with trial results (which were less frequently positive among studies with a statistical design) and with the impact factor of the publishing journal. CONCLUSION: This survey shows that the quality of the statistical component of published phase II cancer trials is generally poor and raises suspicion that low quality is likely to bias study findings. Journals might improve the methodologic standard of published articles through a more vigilant reviewing policy. (+info)
Doctor-staffed ambulance helicopters: to what extent can the general practitioner replace the anaesthesiologist?
During two years, a rural ambulance helicopter programme saved 41 patients' lives. In 29 of these patients, the decisive medical interventions were carried out by the flight anaesthesiologist before reaching the hospital. We asked an expert panel to assess whether these interventions could have been carried out by a general practitioner (GP). This was the case for 17 (59%) of the 29 patients, while more advances skills, equipment or drugs were needed for 11 (38%). Among these 11, three patients would probably have died without the interventions. We conclude that GPs can manage a majority of life saving missions for a rural ambulance helicopter programme, but the lack of a flight anaesthesiologist may imply substantial health losses for a few patients. (+info)