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Research Article

Misrepresentation of Neuroscience Data Might Give Rise to Misleading Conclusions in the Media: The Case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Francois Gonon mail,

    francois.gonon@u-bordeaux2.fr

    Affiliations: Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique UMR 5293, Bordeaux, France

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  • Erwan Bezard,

    Affiliations: Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique UMR 5293, Bordeaux, France

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  • Thomas Boraud

    Affiliations: Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique UMR 5293, Bordeaux, France

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  • Published: January 31, 2011
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0014618

Reader Comments (4)

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Faulty peer review?

Posted by gpotter on 21 Feb 2011 at 20:44 GMT

I thank the authors for a very interesting article.

I was hoping the authors could comment upon the role peer review has had on misrepresentation of data. For example, where inconsistencies occurred between results and claimed conclusions, the manuscript should not have passed peer review. Also, shouldn't reviewers be more critical when data presented does not match strong conclusions?
Maybe we need a better system of accountable, peer review?

No competing interests declared.

RE: Faulty peer review?

Gonon replied to gpotter on 04 Mar 2011 at 17:17 GMT

Because the peer-review system is not easy to investigate, it is difficult to raise an opinion about it. I agree with your comment: in case of obvious internal inconsistency between results and conclusion, the manuscript should not have passed peer review. However, according to our study these cases are extremely rare and this suggests that the peer-review system is not too bad on this respect.

Concerning the two other types of misrepresentation (omission of significant facts and overstatement to therapeutic prospects), which are much more frequent, it follows from our study that most reviewers are not critical. In my opinion, this is due to the fact that reviewers are also researchers and that they are used to put the same kinds of misrepresentation in their own articles. Indeed, according to our observations, putting overstatements to new therapeutic prospects might help to publish articles in prestigious journals. If editors collectively reject sensationalism and ask their reviewers to condemn data misrepresentation, we may expect a decrease in data misrepresentation.

No competing interests declared.