Saturday 21 February 2009

I win the peer review lottery

It's been a good week. On top of the article I had accepted for publication in Homeopathy (and let's face it, they publish any old rubbish), I've just had a paper accepted by a proper scientific journal, the Journal of Structural Geology. I wrote about this paper before, because it initially got rejected. In fact, this is the third time it has been through review, and it's taken about a year and a half, but we've finally got there.

This is how I looked when I found out the good news. I confess that I poured myself a generous Scotch in celebration.

I'm going to be in Norway for the next week for work reasons, so I won't be posting anything over that time, but then posting has been pretty patchy this year. Thanks to all those who have continued to read anyway.

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Homeopathy meta-analysis comment accepted for publication

Just a short post to say that the article I wrote pointing out some problems with a re-analysis (Rutten and Stolper 2008) of the Shang et al. Lancet meta-analysis has been accepted for publication by Homeopathy. I have also been sent the reply by the authors of the re-analysis. My comment and the reply will not actually appear in print until April, so I'd better not address the content of the reply at this point. I will say that I don't think it adequately addresses the points that I made. In particular, the authors don't have much to say in response to the point that information they claim is missing from the Shang paper is in fact clearly stated in that paper. More to come on this in April.

The Rutten and Stolper paper, and a companion paper in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology by Ludtke and Rutten, were the subject of a press release titled "New Evidence for Homeopathy" claiming to cast doubt on the Shang meta-analysis. Perhaps I should issue a press release titled "New Evidence Against Homeopathy". Then again, maybe it would be better titled "New Evidence Against Homeopaths".

Now, despite apearances, I have to say that the subject of meta-analyses of homeopathy is not one that particularly fascinates me. It's just that a number of prominent homeopaths have made claims that the Shang study is flawed and/or fraudulent. In checking the claims that have been made, mainly be simply checking the Shang paper and its supplementary data, I have almost invariably found that they are false. Apgaylard has found similarly. I find it amazing that these false accusations have propagated across the internet and been accepted as truth, without anyone apparently doing the most basic of fact checking.