How We Work


Desdemona: What wouldst thou write of me, if thou shouldst praise me?
Iago:              O gentle lady, do not put me to’t; For I am nothing, if not critical.
Desdemona: Come on assay…
                                                                                       (Shakespeare W,1603)

There are many hurdles on the path to reporting the results of a clinical trial, the final one being pre-publication peer review. We’ve just added another.

We do post-publication statistical peer review (we call it a re-peer service) of highly accessed journal articles reporting randomised clinical trial (RCTs) results in psychiatry.

We appraise articles reporting RCT results ranked “Most Popular” on the MDLinx websiteOur appraisals are strictly focused on the statistical aspects of study design, execution, analysis and reporting. We use the CONSORT checklist as our appraisal instrument. This checklist is widely used, based on expert knowledge and helps ensure all articles receive a structured, consistent appraisal.

It is important readers not only read our point of view but also understand it. Our appraisals are written in plain English and we offer an education section where readers can drill down and deepen their understanding of relevant statistical issues and concepts where necessary.

What Methods Appraisal is
What Methods Appraisal isn’t

Structured methods appraisal
Unstructured criticism

Relentlessly focussed on the statistical aspects of design, execution, analysis & reporting.
A forum for the wider debates in psychiatric research such as ‘me too’ drugs, the ethics of randomizing to placebo, etc.

A new kind of journal – We encourage reader interaction (comments are moderated).
A blog – Debate and discussion in psychiatry via blogs and their open access comments section has been plagued by bias, ad hominem attacks, lack of focus, ill temper, extreme views and bad grammar. The blogosphere has been long on vitriol and short on proficiency in this area.

Fair and respectful – our aim is to influence, not harass.
Sneering statistical cynicism – We hope to bridge the gap between statisticians and clinicians not widen it.

Written in plain English – Methods Appraisal is written by statisticians for clinicians with a particular emphasis on plain English.
Overly technical – We don’t aim to go too deeply into statistical theory and philosophy, where possible we link to other sources for the full treatment of these issues.