Quick Thoughts

Patients writing about their health condition were abused by a peer reviewer and silenced by The BMJ

Should patients submitting manuscripts concerning health conditions provide proof of their diagnoses, such as medical records or letters from their physicians? Should The BMJ apologize to these patients and their academic collaborator co-authors, given that no such apology has been forthcoming from the Action Editor?

Guest blog reviewing Suzanne O’Sullivan’s It’s All in Your Head With an Introduction

Suzanne O’Sullivan’s It’s All in Your Head may have won the Wellcome Book Prize, but mental health professionals like Simon Wessely are notably silent – despite O’Sullivan advocating the same policies they promote. An endorsement of the book from a professional who should know better represents either blind loyalty to a particular point of view, […]

Needed: more informative and trustworthy abstracts. Recommendations for some simple reforms.

An analysis of an uninformative, seriously spun abstract chosen from PLOS One shows why we need guidelines for writing and interpreting abstracts.  With so much to read, and so little time, readers need to be able to quickly screen abstracts and decide whether articles are worth putting further effort into retrieving them.  More informative, trustworthy […]

A template for editors and reviewers having to explain rejections of spun clinical trials

This post presents a template that I use as an editor for desk rejections of manuscripts reporting clinical trials showing clear evidence of questionable research practices such as spin and confirmation bias. This template can also be used by authors as a guide for writing a manuscript that avoids such immediate rejection. Alternatively, authors can […]

Ten suggestions to the new associate editors of Psychological Science

Steps associate editors could take to reduce journal’s emission of faulty science. I would no sooner  become an associate editor for a journal of ill repute anymore than I would become the night manager for the Mustang Ranch. In both cases I might be able to affect positive change, but my aims would be so […]

I reply to John Grohl’s “PLOS blogger calls out PLOS One –Huh?”

Apparently John Grohl was taken aback by my criticism of neurononsense in a PLOS One article.  I am pleased at gaining recognition at his highly accessed blog, but I think he was at least a bit confused about what was going on. The following comment is left at his blog post for approval. John, thank […]

Spinning a negative mindfulness therapy study into a published positive study

Most clinical psychology journals seldom publish honestly reported null findings from randomized trials of psychotherapy. The more these journals aspire to be seen as prestigious, the greater the reluctance to publish such reports. Reading only these journals, you would be hard-pressed to estimate how frequent negative trials actually are in clinical psychology. A notorious example […]

Our BMJ paper wins the 2013 Bill Silverman Prize from the Cochrane Collaboration

The Cochrane Collaboration has awarded my colleagues and me the honor of the 2013 Bill Silverman Prize. We are thus approved as “troublemakers.” I find this recognition quite validating and encouraging of our efforts to improve the scientific literature and dissemination of the evidence it produces to clinicians, patients, and policymakers by promoting evidence-based skepticism. […]

When an investigator encounters a gang of unruly data…

Editors abhor negative findings, reviewers will tell you that they reveal nothing about the phenomena under study, and journalists ignore the rare occurrence of unadorned negative findings being published except when they can craft a man-bites-dog story out of them. So, what are investigators to do when unruly data do not seem to confirm hypotheses? […]

How I Replied When an Editor Asked Me to Review a Manuscript From My Ex-Spouse

“Sure, but I must disclose that 30 years ago I was married to one of the authors. She and I wrote a classic paper in which we argued that for mental health and physical health outcomes, getting a divorce would be preferable to stay in a bad marriage. We subsequently divorced. We are both happy […]