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Despite efforts to improve the statistical quality of research articles in medical journals, serious statistical errors or deficiencies in the design, analysis, reporting and interpretation still occur, even in highly ranked journals.1 Flawed statistics and methodology will negatively affect the study results and could consequently impact public health and patient care.2 Despite numerous educational papers on biostatistics as well as reporting guidelines including CONsolidated Standards Of Reporting Trials, STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology, STAndards for the Reporting of Diagnostic accuracy studies, REporting recommandations for tumor MARKer prognostic studies, and Transparent Reporting of a multivariable prediction model for Individual Prognosis Or Diagnosis (and others as listed in the Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research network; www.equator-network.org) endorsed by many journals, the methodological quality of medical publications still remains low.3 Editors and reviewers may not have expert knowledge of statistics, and worse, could remain unconvinced about the importance of solid methodology in medical research.4 Thus, …
Deceased Douglas G Altman’s deceased date: 3 June 2018
Contributors MAM, MN and DGA produced the first draft. GSC, RON, NPJ and MJC suggested revisions. All authors approved the final version.
Funding GSC was supported by the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre, Oxford, and Cancer Research UK (programme grant: C49297/A27294).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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