Document Detail

Citation bias favoring statistically significant studies was present in medical research.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23347853     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
OBJECTIVE: Statistically significant studies may be cited more than negative studies on the same topic. We aimed to assess here whether such citation bias is present across the medical literature.
STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We conducted a cohort study of the association between statistical significance and citations. We selected all therapeutic intervention studies included in meta-analyses published between January and March 2010 in the Cochrane database, and retrieved citation counts of all individual studies using ISI Web of Knowledge. The association between the statistical significance of each study and the number of citations it received between 2008 and 2010 was assessed in mixed Poisson models.
RESULTS: We identified 89 research questions addressed in 458 eligible articles. Significant studies were cited twice as often as nonsignificant studies (multiplicative effect of significance: 2.14, 95% confidence interval: 1.38-3.33). This association was partly because of the higher impact factor of journals where significant studies are published (adjusted multiplicative effect of significance: 1.14, 95% confidence interval: 0.87-1.51).
CONCLUSION: A citation bias favoring significant results occurs in medical research. As a consequence, treatments may seem more effective to the readers of medical literature than they really are.
Anne-Sophie Jannot; Thomas Agoritsas; Angèle Gayet-Ageron; Thomas V Perneger
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of clinical epidemiology     Volume:  66     ISSN:  1878-5921     ISO Abbreviation:  J Clin Epidemiol     Publication Date:  2013 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-01-25     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8801383     Medline TA:  J Clin Epidemiol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  296-301     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
CRC & Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Health and Community Medicine, University of Geneva and University Hospitals of Geneva, Rue Gabrielle Perret-Gentil 6, 1211 GENEVE 14, Switzerland. Electronic address:
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