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It has also been claimed that the bias of publishing only results with NHST p values below the. Results blind manuscript evaluation As a method of mitigating the aforementioned problems, I suggest that academic psychology, social science, and medical journals consider instituting a policy of results blind manuscript evaluation RBME of the suitability of submitted manuscripts for publication Locascio, , , Although the author came to this conclusion independently Locascio, , the suggestions proposed here are not claimed to be entirely new and original.
Further, there are a few journals that currently employ editorial policies or submission options similar to RBME. This would be implicit in RBME.
However, there appears to be no widespread recognition of RBME as a possible solution to the general controversies concerning publication bias, NHST, irreproducibility of results, and related issues, and there is certainly no widespread use of these proposed methods. To be more specific, by RBME I mean that in deciding whether to publish a manuscript, journal reviewers and editors would give no weight to reported results in making this judgment.
Regarding appropriate data analysis methodology, many proposed methods recommended as alternatives to NHST could potentially be employed, instead of or in addition to NHST. In my view, use of NHST, or reporting of a p value as a continuous estimate of p D Ho , if applicable, and correctly used and interpreted, could conceivably be permissible as providing one possible, optional, supplementary piece of evidence that might be pertinent to research questions, among many other lines of evidence, but the reviewers would decide that on a study-by-study basis.
If some journal editors regard NHST as virtually never having any value e. But most important, obtaining an NHST p value less than an arbitrary cutoff would no longer be a necessary precondition for publication, as neither p values nor any other result for that matter would be considered in the decision to publish. I would also think that there should be no bias against publishing good quality replication or exploratory studies or studies that attempt to refute seemingly established theories.
Any manuscript reviewers, whether in-house or external to the journal, would be fully informed about this policy and implement it. Stated journal submission guidelines for authors should also be explicit and detailed regarding what the journal considers as good methodology. Further, Results and Discussion sections certainly have to be edited and reviewed prior to the manuscript going to print, for presentation as well as for substantive reasons. Data analysis in the Results section has to be checked, and correct interpretation of results in the Discussion section has to be assessed as well as a statement of limitations of the study.
As a method of practically implementing RBME, I would recommend a two-stage procedure as follows: Authors would submit a manuscript in its entirety to a journal, just as they normally do now.
If the decision of reviewers at this stage is to reject, the authors would be informed that their manuscript was rejected and why. Note that the second-stage review merely serves a disconfirmatory or veto function, but where still no weight is given to what the reported results are per se, in the decision to publish.
After completion of the second stage, a formal decision is finalized for acceptance, acceptance with revision, or rejection in the unlikely event rejection is decided at the second stage , and if not rejected, recommendations for minor revision, editing, wording, and cosmetic alterations, and so on, would be suggested or made as pertinent.
Such a process would arguably involve about the same amount of person-hours of work as is currently the case, and possibly less, given that reviewers will sometimes have to review only half a manuscript if the first-stage evaluation results in rejection.
Double-Blind Peer Review Guidelines
If it is accepted during the first stage, and the same reviewers who conducted the first-stage evaluation perform the second evaluation, there is no more additional workload than had they reviewed the entire manuscript at once from the onset.
Benefits With RBME, publication will no longer be influenced by results but decided on, or at least contested on, the playing field of methodology, as it should be. That RBME will reduce publication bias to a large degree is essentially self-evident. There would be no bias at the journal because reviewers cannot decide acceptance based on results if they do not know what the results were. Further, there would no self-censoring bias among investigators because, being fully aware of the RBME journal policy, they would presumably have no inhibition in reporting the null findings of a well-conducted study, knowing that the null finding will in no way reduce their chances for publication.
Furthermore, indirectly, many of the endlessly criticized and lamented problems with NHST will be mitigated or made nonissues. Although NHST would not necessarily be banned, authors would feel no compulsion to employ that particular methodology, or any other for that matter, beyond what they deem as most relevant, fitting, appropriate, and methodologically sound for their study.
Controversy will no doubt continue over whether NHST has some limited utility in science given proper circumstances of relevancy, and correct application, implementation, and interpretation; however, the widely criticized overuse, misuse, and overemphasis of NHST p value cutoffs as the predominant gatekeeper of communication of scientific results will end. Most important, publication will no longer be based on effect size at all, whether that effect size is established allegedly inappropriately via NHST, or validly or invalidly by any other method.
The only measure that the scientific method provides us of the likelihood of a reported finding being true is the degree to which the methodology of the study reporting it appears sound, independent of the size of any claimed effects or lack thereof. The problem of irreproducibility of results will also presumably be mitigated as well because there will likely be a reduction in published false positives given that positivity of findings can no longer influence any decision to publish.
Null findings judged to be of equal validity to any positive results because of their equally sound methodology will have the same chance of being published as the positive results. Thus, the scientific literature will convey a representative, balanced sample of findings containing a proportion of negative and positive findings duly reflective of what is actually likely to be true.
One might say that scientific journals will become more like media outlets with high journalistic standards, reporting important stories that are reliable, confirmed, and based on good sources, rather than being more like tabloids that publish much more sensational reports, but of dubious validity.
Further, investigators will have to make a greater effort to ensure that their sample size is adequate, and preferably calculate and formally justify sample sizes up-front in the Methods section where it ought to be, knowing that acceptance of their paper greatly hinges on their having done this.
Moreover, any incentive toward deliberate fraud or unconscious biases in data analysis in order to show positive findings formerly thought to be required for publication would be reduced. Although submitting manuscripts for studies that are still only at the planning stage would have the benefit of providing greater assurance that there will be no unconscious publication bias based on results, such policies may sometimes be cumbersome or infeasible to always employ.
Study evaluations at the planning stage of a study also allow for earlier reviewer input into the conduct of the study. But preregistration of studies would require additional labor from authors, journal editors, and reviewers, and it is probably not practical and feasible as a widely adopted publication practice.
A stated policy of results blind evaluation of entire manuscripts reporting already completed studies would have the benefit of making a required change in journal policies and procedures only among the journal editors and reviewers, whereas authors would seamlessly continue to submit manuscripts just as they did before. The only change is at the journal. Some journals could conceivably consider a kind of compromise between RBME and preregistering studies by allowing authors to submit only Introduction and Methods sections of a paper before complete execution of the study for provisional evaluation conditional on their following through on their proposed methods as stated.
RBME would require additional work No additional work is required by authors as just noted. Only slightly more work is required by journal editors in that they would send a submitted manuscript to reviewers in two waves.
No extra work is required by reviewers. In fact, less work would generally be involved for them, as the second half of manuscripts judged unacceptable at Stage 1 would not have to be reviewed, and for most journals the greater proportion of submitted manuscripts are not accepted and therefore would likely fall into this category.
What reviewers regard as important or relevant work is partly subjective and also subject to bias RBME is not expected to be a panacea for all bias. Some forms will remain, for example, apart from whether findings were positive, authors can decide to submit papers or not, or undertake research projects for that matter, based on various personal nonscientific reasons.
Reviewers have their biases as to what is good methodology. However, methodological preferences must be based to some degree on advocated, consensually validated, rigorous practices, which are not very malleable according to subjective whims.
In any case, the impossibility of achieving absolute perfection is no excuse for not doing something that is possible and would produce a net improvement over current practices.
Justifying sample size with formal power analysis presupposes NHST, which may be judged not appropriate methodologically Some justification for adequacy of sample size would be considered good methodology for most studies, but formal NHST-based power analysis is not the only method for doing this. Precision of interval estimation can be the target for sample size computations.
Also, see Trafimow and MacDonald for an approach to calculating sample size to ensure confidence that estimated effect sizes are close to population values but that is not based on NHST. Good proposed methodology is not a sufficient criterion for publication: Correct execution and interpretation, which are indicated in Results and Discussion sections, are important too These issues would be addressed by reviewers in the second stage of review.
Findings reported in the Results section may have a bearing on publication Not every situation can be foreseen; for example, a novel or unexpected, important finding may have been made, or an unusually strong effect found, that has a bearing on publication, or a medical emergency may dictate reporting of a finding. Authors can always make a case for weighing the importance of a finding in their cover letter to the editor.
Situations such as these would have to be judged on a case-by-case basis. Still, one must always wonder about the wisdom of publishing any finding based on dubious methodology. If it was considered important to test for according to the author and reviewer, then if a small or near zero effect was found, we want to know that.
The absence of an effect is just as important to know about as the presence of the effect, assuming reports of both seem truthful. A report of the presence of an effect, if of very questionable truth, should not be promulgated about. Otherwise we have only biased, slanted, cherry-picked information available to us, pretending that it is a truthful, balanced representation of reality.
Communicating answers to important questions selectively dependent on what the answers are, is lying by omission. Summary and conclusions I suggest that RBME not only solves some of the problems of publication bias and irreproducibility of results, but as a by-product would simultaneously remove the unjustified prominence given to the NHST and arbitrary p value cutoffs in being a gatekeeper of what is reported to the scientific community because now none of the results of a study would have any direct bearing on publication, including the NHST p value.
Thus, the NHST would in time, it is hoped, become accepted as simply another statistical technique on equal standing with others, which, like any other, can be misused, but if relevant, computed, and interpreted correctly could arguably provide some limited supportive information, but not necessarily more or less than any other method provides.
Even if RBME were widely adopted, investigators would at first, by force of familiar habit, no doubt continue to use the NHST, but they will at least now be aware that its result is entirely irrelevant to whether their report gets published. It will no longer be the results of the NHST in the Results section of the report, but the justification for its use in the Methods section that will be magnified in importance.
Although the BASP ban on p values may have done statistical science a great service in raising awareness of NHST problems, whether such a ban is necessary as a long-term, explicit, or implicit policy would be a decision of the editor and reviewers of each particular journal based on methodological considerations.
Banning p values perhaps would not have been felt necessary if there had not been an exaggerated, unjustified overemphasis of their practical importance to begin with. There has been decades of controversy concerning criticisms of the NHST. As noted, much of these criticisms are valid, although some are technical and not readily accessible to nonstatisticians.
However, it seems to me that most of these problems, as well as publication bias and the so-called crisis of reproducibility and replication, would be greatly ameliorated if we stopped publishing articles on the basis of what was claimed to have been found but rather mostly on the basis of the methodological quality of the study.
And I believe the most reliable way to do that is to adopt some sort of situation-suitable variation of a general policy of RBME at least as a first-stage evaluation.
Even if implementation of proposals made here is found to be impractical for various reasons, it is hoped that these suggestions will at least provoke further thought about workable approximations to them or other ideas that finally address problems related to publication bias, the NHST, and irreproducibility in research. RBME policies of some kind would, one hopes, contribute to the publication of studies of substantive value and high methodological quality that report key discovered effects as well as important null findings, giving a more valid, globally unbiased, and balanced representation of what is actually true.
Impartial information and unbiased evidence for and against theories will thus gradually accumulate and theories will be induced and established in stages of likelihood, conducive to the steady advancement of science.
Publication bias of a sort will remain, but it will be of a positive kind.
Blinded by Science
It will shift from a partly unconscious partiality based on results, which often hides and distorts the truth, to conscious selection criteria based on substantive importance and methodological rigor, which more likely reveals it. I enjoyed reading it and finding out more about the wide array of research that goes on, especially because was speculation and thoughts from a businessman, not someone who has carried out these experiments themselves. Aug 02, Bruno Miguel rated it really liked it.
Highly reccomend it. Jun 18, Charlotte Hurrell rated it it was amazing Shelves: Amazing - really opened my eyes! Apr 15, Mukesh Rao rated it it was amazing. A truly though provoking book, that makes you think twice before reaching out to any medical help.
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About Matthew Silverstone.
Matthew Silverstone. Trivia About Blinded By Science.Still, one must always wonder about the wisdom of publishing any finding based on dubious methodology. I downloadd this after reading the reviews, somewhat doubtful because of the negative critique s by people who seemed educated and scientific based on the fact that Silverstone is writing outside of his certified area of expertise and official study. True notes that 'when compared with their statistical analyses, the proportions of the Getty kouros are closest to those of National Museum no.
Yet Rorimer makes this extraordinary statement: Of these, an 'Archaic Greek' kore was downloadd by the Metropolitan Museum in New York in , followed by an Athena sold to Cleveland and a fragmentary group bought by Munich. Working blind also hinders the selective exclusion of outliers, which is another common method of ensuring significant results.
Myres Memorial Lecture at Oxford in to the subject of forgeries in marble, and quickly warned:
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