Table of Contents  
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 139-140  

Policy of reviewing statistics in Indian medical and surgical journals

Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India

Date of Web Publication20-Apr-2013

Correspondence Address:
U M Thatte
Department of Clinical Pharmacology, 1st floor, New MS Building, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Acharya Dhonde Marg, Parel Mumbai - 400 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0976-500X.110897

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How to cite this article:
Kannan S, Deshpande S P, Gogtay N J, Thatte U M. Policy of reviewing statistics in Indian medical and surgical journals. J Pharmacol Pharmacother 2013;4:139-40

How to cite this URL:
Kannan S, Deshpande S P, Gogtay N J, Thatte U M. Policy of reviewing statistics in Indian medical and surgical journals. J Pharmacol Pharmacother [serial online] 2013 [cited 2022 Jan 23];4:139-40. Available from:


Although statistical methods are a vital part of research methodology, the quality of reporting statistics in published medical literature remains low containing a large number of statistical errors and deficiencies. [1],[2],[3] In order to reduce the impact of flawed statistics and to enhance quality of reporting, medical journal editors have over the years recommended statistical guidelines for authors [4] or appointment of a statistical editor/reviewer. [5] In this scenario, a recent study by Jaykaran et al.,[6] has shown that almost 78% of the original articles published in two Indian pharmacology journals had used inappropriate statistics. To the best of our knowledge, there is no published study that looked into the process of statistical review in Indian medical and surgical journals and therefore, the present study was envisaged.

The present report is a cross-sectional survey of editors of Indian medical and surgical journals using a validated questionnaire that was electronically mailed. A total of 88 journals (46 currently indexed in PubMed) were identified of which email addresses of 80 editors could be retrieved. Of the 10 journal editors who responded (12.5%), five journals are currently indexed in PubMed. Amongst these respondents, two each were from the specialty (obstetrics and gynecology, and dermatology), sub- specialty (oncology and rheumatology) and para-clinical subjects (pharmacology and forensic medicine), three from general medical science and one from Ayurveda.

Eight out of ten journals conduct a statistical review after completing the initial review. In all of these journals, the editor decides whether or not a submitted manuscript requires a statistical review. However, only 8 of 10 went through the process [Table 1]. None of the journals represented by the ten responders have guidelines for authors for statistical reporting while one said that their journal had written guidelines for statistical reviewers. Majority of them (seven out of ten) said that the current status of statistical reporting in articles published in Indian journals is unsatisfactory. Two journals had their statistical editor on ad hoc basis while the rest had either a statistical consultant or an associate editor with statistical expertise. Almost all journals with the exception of one do not remunerate statistical reviewers. Most of the reviewers (six of ten) are affiliated with academic institutions with the exception of three from profit and one from not-for-profit organizations, respectively. Lukic et al. [7] have suggested that 40% of statistical errors in published manuscripts can be avoided if all original articles are reviewed by a trained statistical editor. However, our study suggested that only two out of ten journals had all their original articles reviewed for statistics. Further it has also been shown that improvements in reporting statistics in published articles are not satisfactory if the editors are not formally trained in statistics [7] and we found only three of ten journal editors had received special training in statistics. A summary of the responses poled from journal editors are given in [Table 1]. Given the extent of statistical flaws and deficiencies noted in published articles, it is high time for the authors and the editors of Indian journals to consider seeking expert opinion on statistical reporting in manuscripts.
Table 1: Responses from the journal editors

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   Acknowledgment Top

We thank Dr. Sanjay Oak, Director (ME and MHs) for granting permission to conduct this study, editors who have responded and Mr. Mohit Thatte for rendering help in designing the online questionnaire.

   References Top

1.Strasak AM, Zaman Q, Pfeiffer KP, Göbel G, Ulmer H. Statistical errors in medical research: A review of common pitfalls. Swiss Med Wkly 2007;137:44-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Yim KH, Nahm FS, Han KA, Park SY. Analysis of statistical methods and errors in the articles published in the Korean journal of pain. Korean J Pain 2010;23:35-41.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Jeng M. Error in statistical tests of error in statistical tests. BMC Med Res Methodol 2006;6:45.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Currant-Everett D, Benos DJ. Guidelines for reporting statistics in journals published by the American Physiological Society. J Appl Physiol 2004;97:457-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Cobo E, Callagham AS, Ribera JM, Cardellach F, Dominguez R, Vilardell M. Statistical reviewers improve reporting in biomedical articles: A randomized trial. PLoS One 2007;2:e332.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Jaykaran, Yadav P. Quality of reporting statistics in two Indian pharmacology journals. J Pharmacol Pharmacother 2011;2:85-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Lukiæ IK, Marusiæ M. Appointment of statistical editor and quality of statistics in a small medical journal. Croat Med J 2001;42:500-3.  Back to cited text no. 7


  [Table 1]

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