Have you lost faith in the pre-publication peer review process?

We still have faith in this process however we felt the need to bolster it. Not all psychiatry journals are able to consistently ensure pre-publication peer review by a statistician. We’d like to help bridge this gap.

Which types of articles do you appraise?
We currently focus on RCTs and meta-analyses.

Why do you only appraise psychiatry articles?
Psychiatry seemed a useful place to start. We have experience in clinical trials in this area. The stakes are high in psychiatry; powerful, experimental treatments can make a huge difference in patient outcomes (both positive and negative). Psychiatric data are messy by nature and thus results are especially sensitive to design and analysis decisions. In order for psychiatry to have a sound evidence base these decisions need proper (statistical) scrutiny.

How do you choose which articles to review?
We don’t choose them – you do. We simply select the highest ranked RCT articles based on the MDLinx “Most popular” monthly list for psychiatry.

Why can’t I see my comments?
Comments are moderated; this may result in a modest delay.

Why don’t you report an overall score?
Though tempting, we are naturally wary of compiling and reporting single number summary statistics (like p-values and impact factors) to summarize complicated matters. We encourage readers to read and digest our summary, suggestions and the checklist results before making up their minds.

I don’t understand what you’ve written…
Let us know, we strive to write in plain English so your feedback is useful.

Why is there so much hypertext?
Methods Appraisal is a 100% web-based journal and we wish to make use of the functionality the web offers. We want you to not only read our point of view but to understand our point of view. This may require drilling down on certain terms, concepts and ideas via hypertext to our tutorials and other reference material in order to gain a better understanding of our appraisal.

What’s the difference between Methods Appraisal and Cochrane?
We focus on the methodological rigour of individual trials. Cochrane reviews are higher level systematic reviews.

Are you some kind of statistical fifth column?
No, clearly we don’t work in a clandestine manner nor do we seek to undermine any particular person, institution or journal. We are a vital part of the scientific process.

Do you offer a seal of approval?
Our primary aim is to illuminate and discuss the methodological strengths and weaknesses in published psychiatric research; we don’t offer a formal endorsement.

Do you make mistakes?
Yes of course. We hope readers critically appraise our appraisals. We will gladly acknowledge and correct any mistakes pointed out.

If my published journal article is highly accessed is there a possibility it will be appraised?


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