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Nature: Many reviews, little insight

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From Monya Baker at Nature:

A gold standard of scientific analysis is fast becoming tarnished, according to a report by a leading meta-researcher.

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses distil scientific articles on similar questions into what is meant to be an authoritative take on a particular topic — often how well a particular treatment works across medical settings — and they are key tools in evidence-based medicine.

But valuable reports are getting diluted by “a massive production of unnecessary, misleading and conflicted systematic reviews and meta-analyses”, according to John Ioannidis at Stanford University in California, who has published a report in The Milbank Quarterly looking at trends in the publication of these articles. More.

Here, we always say, look on the bright side. At least after what seemed like decades of ignoring the problem, the right people are starting to take it seriously.

See also: Ioannidis again, on misleading meta-analyses We live in curious times. So many mediocrities waving pompoms for “science,” demanding “faith in science” amid a sea of scandals.

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