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Publication bias examined in meta-analyses from psychology and medicine: A meta-meta-analysis.

08:00 EDT 12th April 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Publication bias examined in meta-analyses from psychology and medicine: A meta-meta-analysis."

Publication bias is a substantial problem for the credibility of research in general and of meta-analyses in particular, as it yields overestimated effects and may suggest the existence of non-existing effects. Although there is consensus that publication bias exists, how strongly it affects different scientific literatures is currently less well-known. We examined evidence of publication bias in a large-scale data set of primary studies that were included in 83 meta-analyses published in Psychological Bulletin (representing meta-analyses from psychology) and 499 systematic reviews from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR; representing meta-analyses from medicine). Publication bias was assessed on all homogeneous subsets (3.8% of all subsets of meta-analyses published in Psychological Bulletin) of primary studies included in meta-analyses, because publication bias methods do not have good statistical properties if the true effect size is heterogeneous. Publication bias tests did not reveal evidence for bias in the homogeneous subsets. Overestimation was minimal but statistically significant, providing evidence of publication bias that appeared to be similar in both fields. However, a Monte-Carlo simulation study revealed that the creation of homogeneous subsets resulted in challenging conditions for publication bias methods since the number of effect sizes in a subset was rather small (median number of effect sizes equaled 6). Our findings are in line with, in its most extreme case, publication bias ranging from no bias until only 5% statistically nonsignificant effect sizes being published. These and other findings, in combination with the small percentages of statistically significant primary effect sizes (28.9% and 18.9% for subsets published in Psychological Bulletin and CDSR), led to the conclusion that evidence for publication bias in the studied homogeneous subsets is weak, but suggestive of mild publication bias in both psychology and medicine.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PloS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e0215052

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

The influence of study results on the chances of publication and the tendency of investigators, reviewers, and editors to submit or accept manuscripts for publication based on the direction or strength of the study findings. Publication bias has an impact on the interpretation of clinical trials and meta-analyses. Bias can be minimized by insistence by editors on high-quality research, thorough literature reviews, acknowledgement of conflicts of interest, modification of peer review practices, etc.

Any deviation of results or inferences from the truth, or processes leading to such deviation. Bias can result from several sources: one-sided or systematic variations in measurement from the true value (systematic error); flaws in study design; deviation of inferences, interpretations, or analyses based on flawed data or data collection; etc. There is no sense of prejudice or subjectivity implied in the assessment of bias under these conditions.

Any deviation of results or inferences from the truth, or processes leading to such deviation. Bias can result from several sources: one-sided or systematic variations in measurement from the true value (systematic error); flaws in study design; deviation of inferences, interpretations, or analyses based on flawed data or data collection; etc. There is no sense of prejudice or subjectivity implied in the assessment of bias under these conditions.

Meta-analysis of randomized trials in which estimates of comparative treatment effects are visualized and interpreted from a network of interventions that may or may not have been evaluated directly against each other. Common considerations in network meta-analysis include conceptual and statistical heterogeneity and incoherence.

Work consisting of a statement issued by one or more authors of an article or a book, withdrawing or disavowing acknowledgment of their participation in performing research or writing the results of their study. In indexing, the retraction is sent to the editor of the publication in which the article appeared and is published under the rubric "retraction" or in the form of a letter. This publication type designates the author's statement of retraction: it should be differentiated from RETRACTED PUBLICATION which labels the retracted publication.

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