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Putting Meaning Back Into the Mean: A Comment on the Misuse of Elementary Statistics in a Sample of Manuscripts Submitted to Clinical Therapeutics

      Abstract

      Purpose

      Errors in the statistical presentation and analyses of data in the medical literature remain common despite efforts to improve the review process, including the creation of guidelines for authors and the use of statistical reviewers. This article discusses common elementary statistical errors seen in manuscripts recently submitted to Clinical Therapeutics and describes some ways in which authors and reviewers can identify errors and thus correct them before publication.

      Methods

      A nonsystematic sample of manuscripts submitted to Clinical Therapeutics over the past year was examined for elementary statistical errors.

      Findings

      Clinical Therapeutics has many of the same errors that reportedly exist in other journals.

      Implications

      Authors require additional guidance to avoid elementary statistical errors and incentives to use the guidance. Implementation of reporting guidelines for authors and reviewers by journals such as Clinical Therapeutics may be a good approach to reduce the rate of statistical errors.

      Key words

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