'Spin' in biomedical literature is used to distort the interpretation of results or mislead readers so that results are viewed more favourably. Credit: Hilda Bastian, Statistically-Funny.blogspot.com, CC-BYSept. 11, 2017 (Phys.org) -- More than a quarter of biomedical scientific papers may utilize practices that distort the interpretation of results or mislead readers so that results are viewed more favorably, a new study, in the open access journal PLOS Biology, suggests.
Researchers Kellia Chiu, Quinn Grundy and Lisa Bero from the University of Sydney Charles Perkins Centre and Faculty of Pharmacy performed a systematic review of 35 published academic studies that had previously analyzed so-called 'spin' in biomedical scientific papers -- also known as "science hype."
Their findings suggest that more than 26 percent of papers identified as systematic reviews or meta-analyses contained spin. This figure rose to up to 84 percent in papers reporting on nonrandomised trials.
While spin was variably defined across the 35 studies, a wide variety of strategies to spin results were identified including: