NCBI ROFL: A new scientific source of bias: SILLY bias. Analysis of citations of BMJ's Christmas articles.

By ncbi rofl | December 23, 2010 7:00 pm

angel facepalm“We analysed the scientific impact of systematic reviews and randomised trials published in the BMJ Christmas issues 1997-2006. The articles were mostly interpreted correctly as humorous, but the humorous dimension was overlooked with surprising ease. The result from one ironic-absurd trial on the effect of retroactive remote intercessory prayer for patients already dead or dismissed was taken at face value in 12/36 of the citing articles, and mortality data was unconditionally included in three systematic reviews. Thus, we document a new type of bias in medical research: Serious Idiopathic Loss of Ludic ironY (SILLY) bias, both in citation practices and in metaanalyses.”

silly bias

Photo: flickr/mugley

Related content:
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: BMJ archives
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Acronym win: the CHUMP study
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Snappy answers to stupid questions: an evidence-based framework for responding to peer-review feedback.

WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: NCBI ROFL, rated G, ridiculous titles
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About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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