Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Mar 13;115(11):2613-2619. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1710755115.

Misrepresentation and distortion of research in biomedical literature.

Boutron I1,2,3, Ravaud P4,2,3,5.

Author information

1
Methods of Therapeutic Evaluation Of Chronic Diseases (METHODS) team, INSERM, UMR 1153, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Sorbonne Paris Cité Research Center (CRESS), F-75014 Paris, France; isabelle.boutron@aphp.fr.
2
Faculté de Médicine, Paris Descartes University, 75006 Paris, France.
3
Centre d'Épidémiologie Clinique, Hôpital Hôtel Dieu, Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, 75004 Paris, France.
4
Methods of Therapeutic Evaluation Of Chronic Diseases (METHODS) team, INSERM, UMR 1153, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Sorbonne Paris Cité Research Center (CRESS), F-75014 Paris, France.
5
Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY 10032.

Abstract

Publication in peer-reviewed journals is an essential step in the scientific process. However, publication is not simply the reporting of facts arising from a straightforward analysis thereof. Authors have broad latitude when writing their reports and may be tempted to consciously or unconsciously "spin" their study findings. Spin has been defined as a specific intentional or unintentional reporting that fails to faithfully reflect the nature and range of findings and that could affect the impression the results produce in readers. This article, based on a literature review, reports the various practices of spin from misreporting by "beautification" of methods to misreporting by misinterpreting the results. It provides data on the prevalence of some forms of spin in specific fields and the possible effects of some types of spin on readers' interpretation and research dissemination. We also discuss why researchers would spin their reports and possible ways to avoid it.

KEYWORDS:

bias; detrimental research practice; misinterpretation; misreporting; misrepresentation

PMID:
29531025
PMCID:
PMC5856510
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1710755115
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest statement: P.R. is director of the French EQUATOR (Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research) Center. I.B. is deputy director of the French EQUATOR Center.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center