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FASEB J. 2009 Mar;23(3):689-703. doi: 10.1096/fj.08-108910. Epub 2008 Oct 21.

Unusual clustering of coefficients of variation in published articles from a medical biochemistry department in India.

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Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, 5700 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Oakland, CA 94609, USA.


A simple statistical method is described to test whether data are consistent with minimum statistical variability expected in a biological experiment. The method is applied to data presented in data tables in a subset of 84 articles among more than 200 published by 3 investigators in a small medical biochemistry department at a major university in India and to 29 "control" articles selected by key word PubMed searches. Major conclusions include: 1) unusual clustering of coefficients of variation (CVs) was observed for data from the majority of articles analyzed that were published by the 3 investigators from 2000-2007; unusual clustering was not observed for data from any of their articles examined that were published between 1992 and 1999; and 2) among a group of 29 control articles retrieved by PubMed key word, title, or title/abstract searches, unusually clustered CVs were observed in 3 articles. Two of these articles were coauthored by 1 of the 3 investigators, and 1 was from the same university but a different department. We are unable to offer a statistical or biological explanation for the unusual clustering observed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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