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BMJ Peer review of Wilshire et al re-analysis of PACE paper

Discussion in 'PsychoSocial ME/CFS Research' started by Esther12, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Split from the twitter thread. Some discussion of the peer review of the PACE re-analysis article submitted to the BMJ starts from post #1745 of that thread.

    edit: I also want to point out that this review misrepresents a number of aspects of the paper. The paper submitted to the BMJ was later released (after some modifications) here: https://bmcpsychology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40359-018-0218-3 The paper went on to get mainstream media coverage from the BBC, page 2 of the Times, etc: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/findings-of-5m-me-chronic-fatigue-study-worthless-89z8x0xzr

    So that I have just two posts to bookmark, I'm going to quote the exchange with the BMJ about that ridiculous peer review report here. Possibly it deserves its own thread? It's easy for people to miss things in this huge rambling one.

    Background:
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  3. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've been thinking about this and I'm pretty disgusted with the BMJ to be honest, not because they didn't publish the paper, but because they accepted that mean and self indulgent nonsense as a review. I realise that reviewing for journals is done voluntarily and without remuneration, and someone can submit a pompous rant for their own pleasure if they choose instead of critiquing a paper. However the BMJ chose to accept it as one of just 2 reviews. Surely there were legitimate grounds for rejecting it outright because it says nothing relevant about the content, which is what is wanted in a review. A poor job on the part of the BMJ, and I wonder why. It would serve the 'scottish psychiatrist' and the BMJ right if this episode were to become more widely known. I really hope it does.



    edit - tone
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    A big part of the problem for me is that this is far from an isolated example from the BMJ. There's a long history of appalling behaviour and misrepresentations of the evidence relating to ME/CFS, and they seem to embrace it as 'standing up for science', while simultaneously avoiding debate with those patients (and academics) who know better than them.

    PS: Hope it was okay to start a new thread on this, was unsure whether greater attention would be a good or bad thing. That review was appalling though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
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  5. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  6. LightHurtsME

    LightHurtsME Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    A useful phrase!
     
  7. large donner

    large donner Guest

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    Isn't that unbecoming or is it the inclusion of the pompous part that's unbecoming. Or is wankery unbecoming on its own, pardon the pun.

    Or is it the combination of the two that's unbecoming? Maybe just being pompous is unbecoming or maybe its a crucial part of becoming wankery.

    Who knows, the whole last few days has been o_O.
     
  8. Graham

    Graham Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Following on from the debate at Westminster Hall, I wonder whether this should be passed on to the minister (Steve Brine?) as evidence of the sort of difficulty we face in getting the message out there, and of the entrenched opposition in many medical quarters.
     
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  9. Sasha

    Sasha Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I certainly think the BMJ deserves some public shaming - it was disgraceful to allow such a 'review' to go forward to the authors, considering the personal abuse it contained.
     
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  10. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I recently came across complaints in the correspondence section of the BMJ in 1993 about their approach to ME or it might have been PVFS. If I rediscover it I will post it. However when following up on that I came across these criticisms by Ellen (EDIT for typo) Goudsmit.

    http://www.axfordsabode.org.uk/me/bmj-bias.htm

    Chronic fatigue syndrome: bias in the BMJ.

    Ellen Goudsmit. PhD. C.Psychol.

    Health psychologist and archivist.



    Introduction
    Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a common, potentially disabling illness, which carries a substantial socio-economic burden1. The true prevalence of this disorder is unknown but may have been underestimated in the past2. Without doubt, the condition deserves serious consideration both from the research scientists and physicians in clinical practice.

    The British Medical Journal (BMJ) is the official organ of the British Medical Association, the largest professional body of physicians in the UK. Readers expect the journal to publish original research on CFS and to keep them up-to-date with developments documented elsewhere. The publication of a broad range of views allows practitioners to make informed decisions and is an essential part of the scientific process. For clinical and epidemiological purposes, patients with CFS are currently defined by the CDC criteria, which were developed by the International study group and modified in 19943.

    In September 2000, I reviewed the content of the publications on CFS, which have appeared in the BMJ since 1995 to see if the nature of the papers reflected the global research, clinical opinion and changes in the diagnostic approach in relation to this condition


    This is not a new problem.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
  11. Daisymay

    Daisymay Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Well I sent it on to Lady Mar earlier and she may or may not send it on to Carol Monaghan and co, it's up to her, but maybe someone could send it on to Steve Brine?
     
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  12. Daisymay

    Daisymay Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    No and you can well imagine over the decades, literally decades, how researchers and activists will have been similarly attacked, smeared and invalidated in private to those in positions of power or influence.
     
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  13. Starlight

    Starlight Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    I find it hard to believe that the BMJ would publish such waffle and that they would expect people to wade through it is unreal. I find it hard to believe that one of their staff read this and decided to publish it. This deserves all the attention it can get and for all the wrong reasons.
     
  14. Adrian

    Adrian Administrator Staff Member

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    They didn't publish it it was a peer review for the paper on PACE that was submitted.
     
  15. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Valid, providing any lay audience clearly understand what a review of a scientific paper is supposed to be, and not be.
     
  16. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    A possibly interesting angle to this is the BMJ now has open peer review so if the paper had been accepted, the peer review comments would have been made public.
     
  17. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I appreciate it pulls in a whole raft of issues of its own, but its almost as if reviewer's comments need to be open to public scrutiny if a paper is not published, given that a very unjustified review could prevent publication of a good paper. But like I say, I appreciate the impracticality issues.
     
  18. Robert 1973

    Robert 1973 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @Carolyn Wilshire I know this forum is public but are you happy for the review and correspondence to be shared on social media and beyond?
     
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  19. Carolyn Wilshire

    Carolyn Wilshire Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes. I'm happy to share this material publicly.

    Its important to keep in mind that the manuscript being reviewed here was a little different from the final one that got published in BMC Psychology. It was written with a tight word limit in mind, and it included some data from our reanalyses but few details on how we performed the reanalyses.

    But ALL the data and key arguments in that manuscript also appeared in the final BMC publication . So the reviewer's criticisms of material in the manuscript are also effectively criticisms of the final BMC publication.

    The sentence that contained the word "merely", the one the reviewer claimed was "belittling patients" also appeared in the final version:
     
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  20. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I recommend reading EG's work from that period (mostly from 1997-2010), archived on Axford's Abode. It is good, and she was almost the only person doing anything at that level at the time.

    Also, it is Goudsmit. No 'l'.
     
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